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With His Church in a Stop-and-Frisk Hotspot, Queens Preacher Backs NYPD Practice

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Reverend Floyd Flake, pastor of the Greater Allen A.M.E. Church (Courtesy FBC Somerset)

A Queens preacher who has one of the largest congregations in the city is defending the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practice — despite a poll released Thursday that shows a slight majority of New Yorkers oppose the controversial program.

Speaking on the Brian Lehrer Show on Thursday, Pastor Floyd Flake, former congressman and pastor of Greater Allen AME Church in southeast Queens, told WNYC that he backs the program because it is an effective method of getting guns off the streets.

“You need as many methodologies at work as possible,” Flake said. “You still need something like stop and frisk in order to try to drive some of this criminal element out of the community.”

His church, in Jamaica, Queens, is located in one of the city's stop-and-frisk hotspots.

Meanwhile, a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday found a slight majority of New York City voters disapproves of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policies – and the opinions are divided along racial lines.

Overall, New Yorkers oppose stop and frisk 51 percent to 43 percent. White voters support the practice 56 to 39 percent while black voters oppose it 69 to 21 percent. Hispanics are opposed 51 to 42 percent.

The poll surveyed 1,093 registered voters by phone from June 6 to June 8. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Of the record-high 685,724 stops last year, the overwhelming majority — 87 percent — of those stopped were black or Latino.

Twelve percent of the stops resulted in an arrest of summons, and one in every 666 stops resulted in an arrest for possession of a firearm.

“I’m not arguing that stop and frisk is a perfect program,” Flake said. “I do believe there are some areas that need to be touched upon.”

Flake backed Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed push to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana in public view -- noting stop and frisks during which marijuana not in public view becomes in public view results in arrests.

“That is totally unconstitutional,” he said.

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Comments [3]

Christopher Jordan from Harlem, New York, 10026

Thank God for an independent judiciary. When a minority looks around and sees that his fellow citizens have LOST THEIR DAMN MINDS and decided to revoke his Bill of Rights, it is the courts that can, and do, right the wrong majority.

As for Rev. Floyd Flake, he has undoubtedly earned the respect of the community of Jamaica and the city's larger black population by the way he has used his popular ministry to improve people's neighborhoods in real, tangible ways. His church has transformed neighborhoods by getting involved in purchases, developments, public and private construction projects and has been a key part of the city's makeover in the last 20 years.

However, Rev Flake also has a well documented past of questionable entanglement between his 501(c)3-status church, his personal bank accounts, and his considerable influence among city politicians and political hopefuls. An endorsement from Rev Flake is considered a critical 'get' by any campaign, and the courting process can yield some very lucrative deals for Rev. Flake's ministry. Using his influence this way, he has delivered fantastic results for his congregants and all the other people who live in those communities.

The Good Reverend has also become quite wealthy in the process. One need only search Floyd Flake in the NYTimes.com archives to find a trove of deals under which Flake was investigated for paying himself and a close circle millions off of deals that had not yielded profits that would merit such a payday, apart from the ethical smell test for a preacher. He and his wife spent years embroiled in federal embezzlement suits in the 80s and 90s. Development deals as recently as this decade have raised eyebrows and attracted the attention of investigators.

I bring all this up not to muddy his name -- as I said, it's all well documented. The point is that Rev. Flake is one of Mayor Bloomberg's most ardent supporters. Under Mayor Bloomberg's unprecedented three terms, Rev Flake has struck development deals using public spaces that have enriched him personally.

Don't you for a second think that Floyd Flake believes in Stop and Frisk. It is utterly inconsistent with his record. Reverend Floyd Flake owes Mayor Mike Bloomberg. It's called calling in his favors.

Jun. 14 2012 03:05 PM
Leo from Queens

I agree that the Police's job should be to police the community and keep us safe. There should be stop and frisk operations and checkpoints that are carried out professionally. The problem with Stop and Frisk, as is being carried out by Bloombgerg and Kelly, is that this has been primarily as a revenue generation tool and a repression tool against minorities and to drive minority families out of the City.
Though organized crimes has flourished in the City, stop and Frisk is being used to illegaly search individuals of color to find ways to fine them and to get them into the criminal prison complex. As a result, many young man and women are being denied access to jobs and financial aid for school. Because of the repeated stops and illegal searches, these kids are being alienated from society and are becoming resentful of the police as they have acquired a criminal record and fines as they have to miss work and school to attend court.
Stop and Frisk is not being implemented uniformly across the city and the targets are minorities though white young people consume more drugs and are involved in 'bad' behavior such as drinking, driving irresponsibly, carrying drugs, weapons, etc.
This does not address gangs which are actively and openly recruiting 12-13 YO kids in school while the Police do nothing to prevent it and protect our kids. We have drug, human and gun traficking that is not being addressed while we continue to repress and in some cases execute young people just for being kids.

Jun. 14 2012 02:56 PM
Andre

I agree with Floyd Flake. Don't throw out the baby with the bath water. Yes - there are things about stop & frisk that should be refined - but it should NOT be ended. Anyone who doesn't think it helps to prevent some crime - including murder - is living in a fantasy world. I guess it depends on what ppl think is more important. Is it not worth it if it saved even one life? Well what if that murder victim is your son - or that robbery victim is your grandmother? Where I grew up - a good number of my own friends didn't live past 21 - so I know how it feels.

Jun. 14 2012 11:25 AM

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