The controversial program by which police officers have the right to stop and question anyone they deem suspicious or carrying a weapon has been blasted as racial profiling by critics. Dr. Cornel West and 19 others were convicted in May of disorderly conduct for protesting the controversial program.
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New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was also at the service where he said that the policy saves lives, especially for Blacks and Latinos who make up more than 90 percent of the murder victims. Mayor Bloomberg agreed.
“By making it ‘too hot to carry,’ the NYPD is preventing guns from being carried on our streets,” the mayor said.
While congregation applauded the mayor during his remarks, The Post reports that church members were more critical after service.
“I’ve been stopped and frisked about five times and I have no problem showing them that I’m not carrying a weapon or drugs, but the police treat me like I’m already guilty,” said Timothy Coleman, 55, a drug counselor.
“They make you go spread-eagle against a wall and they give you a little shove while they’re at it . . . Treat us with respect.”
Firs Baptist Church’s pastor, Bishop A.D. Lyons, says that officers have very bad attitudes towards the residents and need to be more civil to those they stop.
“We have a lot of police who don’t want to be in Brownsville, and they have an attitude when they come into Brownsville and you’ve got to deal with that,” Lyons said.
“I’ll agree that a lot of it is blacks carrying guns. But we’ve got to respect them, even if they are carrying guns.”
The NYPD stopped more than 685,724 in 2011, according to The Post. Most of those stopped–some 90-plus percent–were either Black or Latino. The city faces a federal class action lawsuit over the policy.