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Rep. Peter King insists NYPD never profiles anybody

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, May 14, 2012 11:20 EDT
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An unidentified man is arrested during an "Occupy Wall Street" protest. Photo: Daryl Lang / Shutterstock.com.
 
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Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is hopping mad over a recent vote in the House of Representatives that called upon the New York Police Department (NYPD) to stop profiling the Muslim community. Appearing on CNN Monday morning, King, who chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security, repeatedly insisted that the NYPD never profiles anybody, ever, adding that the allegation is simply “nonsense” not supported by any evidence.

King was responding to a Democratic-led initiative to forbid police departments from engaging in unconstitutional discrimination, crafted by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), who said it was specifically designed to correct the racial disparities seen in the NYPD’s ever-changing list of suspects.

“I’m telling you there is no profiling so take that back,” an angry Rep. King shot back at Lizza on Monday morning. “There is no profiling. You have no evidence.”

The New York Civil Liberties Union disagrees.

In an analysis of the number of “stop-and-frisk” searches carried out by New York police last year, the group found that young black males were most frequently targeted by police, accounting for 25.6 percent of men stopped and searched in 2011, despite making up just 1.9 percent of the population.

Young Latino men also accounted for a disproportionate amount of law enforcement time, enduring a full 16 percent of NYPD stops despite only accounting for 2.8 percent of the population. Young white men, however, were much less likely to encounter police harassment in New York City, having made up just 3.8 percent of all stop-and-frisks in 2011, while only accounting for 2 percent of the population.

Overall, the NYCLU found 33 different police precincts where blacks and Latinos accounted for more than 90 percent of all police stops. The group also identified another 10 precincts where the black and Latino communities accounted for less than 14 percent of the population, but withstood more than 70 percent of stops.

“The NYPD’s own data undermine many of the Bloomberg administration’s justifications for the stop-and-frisk program,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said in a media advisory. “Contrary to the mayor and police commissioner’s assertions, the massive spike in the number of stops has done little to remove firearms from the streets. Instead, it has violated the constitutional rights of millions of people and corroded the ability of communities of color to trust and respect the police.”

Even the Pulitzer Prize board would also seem to disagree with Rep. King, having awarded a top honor for investigative reporting last year to Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan and Chris Hawley of The Associated Press, for their investigative series on how the NYPD profiles and spies on the Muslim community.

Despite all this damning information on race and the NYPD, Rep. King would appear to either be willfully ignorant or chasing political expediency. Unfortunately for many reform advocates, a majority of New Yorkers appear to agree with him.

A recent poll by Quinnipiac University found that 63 percent of voters favor how New York police are doing their jobs, and 58 percent said they were satisfied with how Muslims have been targeted.

Fewer, however, were fond of the stop-and-frisk program, with 49 percent overall saying they disapprove. Perhaps most telling: White New Yorkers overwhelmingly favored the searches, at 59 percent approval to 36 percent disapproval, whereas blacks and Latinos were strongly opposed, at 68 percent disapproval for blacks and 52 percent for Latinos.

This video is from CNN, broadcast Monday, May 14, 2012.

This video is from CNN, broadcast Monday, May 14, 2012.

Photo: Daryl Lang / Shutterstock.com

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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