It's Okay, Say Cops: Black People Stop and Frisk Themselves Now


“There’s all this talk about stop-and-frisks, whether it’s racist or harassment, but the public totally misses the game,” a Brooklyn cop says. “You know all the guys in the neighborhood, and usually when we roll up they frisk themselves. That is, if it’s a night they don’t feel like being bothered, they just lift up their shirts when we stop, and then they move on. If they feel like making a point to the boys they’re hanging with on the corner, they won’t do it. But the people who carry guns and shoot each other where I work are not white. There are no white people to begin with! But I always laugh. The civil-liberties people are the reason we have stop-and-frisk reports in the first place. The theory was, if cops were forced to write down what they were doing, they wouldn’t be so haphazard about stopping people and frisking them. But because the department loves data, now those reports are activity that can prove you’re taking action at CompStat.”

Today’s New York magazine piece on the NYPD is kinda dark! Despite this, I still feel for the cops, who are trapped between a public who’s largely grown to hate them (again) and a numbers-obsessed bureaucracy that can’t let crime numbers go up.