The Stop Mass Incarceration Network held a brief press conference outside Manhattan’s Federal Courthouse on Friday.
The group denounced yesterday’s Federal Appeals Court decision granting a stay against Judge Shira A. Scheindlin’s ruling that Stop & Frisk was unconstitutionally applied. Scheindlin ordered the NYPD to undergo a series of reforms ensuring they fairly implement the practice.
Watch a brief snippet of Carl Dix’s speech here:
“What went down yesterday is that these three federal appeals court judges stopped and frisked Judge Shira from the lower court,” said Carl Dix (pictured left of center), one of the founders of the Stop Mass Incarceration Movement.
“These judges said that they found impropriety in the way that Judge Scheindlin carried out the case in the lower court. What is really improper is the way that the NYPD policy of Stop & Frisk unleashes cops to criminalize and demonize Blacks and Latinos, especially youth, treating them like criminals, guilty until proven innocent.”
Dix also compared the appeals court ruling to the Dred Scott decision, where the Supreme Court ruled that African-Americans were not American citizens and had no rights to sue. “We are still dealing with these kinds of things,” he added.
“What this court ruling has told us is not that Stop & Frisk is a more complicated legal issue than we initially said,” said Noche Diaz (pictured above, far left), who works closely with Stop Mass Incarceration.
“It shows that every time our youth walk down the streets and face down the brutality of some cop, some criminal who hides behind a badge, that they are facing not just some rogue or out of control police department, but a whole system that has no future for them. For a whole system that tells them again and again, if you’re a Black youth like Trayvon Martin, you can be killed and they’ll be no justice.”
Debra Sweet (pictured above, right of center), director of World Can’t Wait.net, implored her fellow White Americans to join the struggle against Stop & Frisk. “I’m putting the call out now, that everyone who looks like me, who doesn’t get regularly stopped and frisked, anyone else in this city with a conscience, step forward now and rejoin this movement to end Stop & Frisk now,” she said.
“We need to stand up against this dying old order that’s resisting change, that knows better-they don’t want their own kids to be treated this way,” said James Vrettos (pictured left of Carl), a Sociology professor at John Jay College. “There are so many other ways we need to look at to change this system. Stop & Frisk is a continuation of the old order. It’s obvious that [Ray] Kelly and [Mayor Mike] Bloomberg wanna maintain their privileged, entitled positions that they feel that they have.”
Sweet also believes the way Schendlin was removed and critiqued wouldn’t have happened if she were male. “It’s very unusual for a Circuit Court Appelate panel to reach down and rebuke a district judge like this,” she shared.
“And clearly, the content of their rebuke was that she was too partisan to the plaintiffs in this case. It just had the feeling of a slap on the face, and it seems, to me, that they treated her like someone they could push around like that without respect, and it feels sexist.”
The stay will remain in effect as the city appeals Schendlin’s ruling.