During the ongoing “stop and frisk” trial in Manhattan’s federal court, a state senator said today that NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly implemented the program to “instill fear” in the minds of the city’s Black and Latino populations.
Current and former police officials have already offered testimony surrounding the policy but the testimony from State Sen. Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn) may have been one of the most explosive to date, reports the New York Daily News.
During a 2010 meeting between former Gov. David Paterson, State Sen. Marty Golden (R-Brooklyn), former Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) and Commissioner Kelly, Sen. Adams said he expressed concerns about the policy. But Kelly allegedly responded by saying that the shakedowns were necessary.
“He stated that he targeted and focused on (Blacks and Latinos) because he wanted to instill fear in them that every time that they left their homes they could be targeted by police,” Adams said while questioned by plaintiff attorney Jonathan Moore. “First of all I was amazed that he was comfortable enough to state that that in that setting,” Adams continued.
After Sen. Adams expressed dismay at Kelly’s alleged admission, the commissioner allegedly replied, “How else are we going to get rid of guns?”
Sen. Adams’ testimony was nearly countered, however, by a 2011 affidavit that stated Kelly did not use the word “fear.” In a February deposition hearing, Sen. Adams also said he was not sure if he heard Kelly correctly. The judge in the current case did not allow attorneys to present the updated documents, as Kelly was not slated to testify.
Sen. Adams, along with then-governor Patterson, supported the policy. The senator added that stopping and frisking is a “great tool” when applied fairly.
But public opinion argues that “stop and frisk” was anything but fair, with over 685,000 stops happening in 2011 alone. The vast majority of those stopped were young Black and Latino men with just a negligible percentage of stops yielding the guns Kelly wanted off the streets.