Sean Bell: One Year Later

Monday, November 26, 2007

Errol Louis, columnist for the New York Daily News, and WNYC reporter Bob Hennelly talk about what has changed and what hasn't in the year since the shooting of Sean Bell.


Bob Hennelly and Errol Louis

Comments [15]

Amy from Manhattan

I didn't expect to get direct responses! OK, to answer a few points:

Roehan, what I'm saying is that innocent blacks & Latinos are *more likely* than other innocent people to be arrested for & convicted of crimes they haven't committed. That's not the same as "by and large."

Norman, I wouldn't say there's *no* connection between the US administration's eating away at our Constitutional rights & the way stop-&-frisks are carried out in NYC. But I'm talking specifically about s&f's by city police, a practice that dates back before 9/11. I'd like to know if anyone has brought suit--class action or individual--based on the 4th amendment. At least the NYPD can't cite national security & classified status to refuse to provide evidence in court.

And people do have the right to freedom, in this country & all over the world. The question is whether that right is respected/protected, & that's what we need to work & sometimes fight for.

Nov. 26 2007 01:56 PM

Can anyone weigh in on what the actual legal rights of someone stopped and frisked are? That is, an officer says, "Hey you - over here," and one's first thought is obviously going to be, "ME? What did I do?" What are your rights in this situation? Do you have the right to know why you're being stopped? Do you have the right to refuse to be frisked? It can all seem so random and somewhat arbitrary, so sometimes just knowing where you stand in these situations can be calming, and perhaps a sort of "Miranda" reading, not unlike the "card" idea that was put out there, but going further still, would go a long way to mitigating the potential of things getting out of control, not to mention the fear, uncertainty, and humiliation that the person about to get frisked feels when getting stopped.

Nov. 26 2007 12:12 PM
Norman from New York

Amy wrote:

>1. What about the 4th amendment? If 90% of stop-&-frisks don't find anything, how much of the "reasonable suspicion" required by the Constitution could there have been to justify these searches in the first place?

The Bill of Rights has been suspended in the U.S. If you go into the subway, the police are allowed to search your packages and backpack. If you tried to demonstrate in front of City Hall (since Giuliani put a fence around it), you'll be arrested.

That's what happens when people elect Republicans (and Democrats aren't a lot better).

You don't have a right to freedom in this country. You have to fight for it.

Nov. 26 2007 12:10 PM

It's well known that arrest and convictions are out of proporation? Are you saying that minorities arrested by cops are by and large good and decent people who were committing no crimes?

Nov. 26 2007 11:56 AM

What does that even mean that the New York Police department is structurally racist? People act like the cops are the ones committing the crimes. What do you do if crime is substantially higher in minority neighborhoods - nothing?

Nov. 26 2007 11:53 AM
Amy from Manhattan

1. What about the 4th amendment? If 90% of stop-&-frisks don't find anything, how much of the "reasonable suspicion" required by the Constitution could there have been to justify these searches in the first place?

2. I wonder how many of the 2,700 officers who did such a high percentage of s&f's work in the same few neighborhoods, & how much that accounts for both the racial makeup of the people stopped & which cops are doing the searches (i.e., do most s&f's take place in a few neighborhoods whose population is mostly poor & black or Latino?).

3. I think the Rand study that was recently released said that the proportions of different races who were stopped & frisked were close to the proportions convicted of (or arrested for?) crimes. But it's well known that arrests & convictions of blacks & Latinos are out of proportion to the crimes actually committed by members of those populations, so this finding doesn't necessarily mean the police are being even-handed in stopping people.

Finally, I think Mr. Henley should be more careful about things like comparing Chappaquiddick to a deliberate shooting.

Nov. 26 2007 11:47 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

I find these conspiratorial suggestions that the political system is somehow designed with the sole purpose of keeping black people down to be really destructive to the discourse altogether. The reality.. the real reality is not that white people hate black people and are looking to repress them. The reality is that they DON'T CARE. And this is unfortunate and needs to change, but these conspiracy theories are merely to try to make the black role as something more significant even if it's the role of victim.

Nov. 26 2007 11:45 AM
et from here

When innocent people experience crime in their own neighborhood, it is natural and right to want to rid the area of crime, no matter the color of the perps.

That said, why don't black people put as much energy into stopping crime in their own ranks as they do fighting the police? Why don't they start WORKING with the police?
And working in all areas to bring up their own...

Nov. 26 2007 11:41 AM
hjs from 11211

what % of cops come from outside of the city and come in to work thinking they are zoo keepers

Nov. 26 2007 11:34 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Everybody dancing around the fact that many police departments, including the New York Police, are structurally racist. What the Bell shooting say that people of color in America are politically powerless.

Nov. 26 2007 11:30 AM

Isn't crime and violence in minority neighborhoods substantially higher than in other neighborhoods, due to many reasons, doesn't that affect the reason why stop and frisk are predominately minorities?

Nov. 26 2007 11:29 AM
Pat from Manhattan

Brian, Everyone on your show is so calm about the fact that 90% of Stop-and-Frisks happen to "people of color". I wonder how you and your guests, and indeed, New Yorkers in general, would respond if the Rand Corporation announced that 90% of Stop-and-Frisks happened to Caucasian New Yorkers. Especially, when so few of these stops resulted in arrests or even summonses.

Also, Brian, do you really believe that Rikers Island is full of Black and Brown people because black and brown people commit more crimes? And also, do you believe that guns are absent in white communities? Why don't police officers try to keep the white communities safer by looking for guns in their communities?

Nov. 26 2007 11:26 AM
CH from NYC

Perhaps I am mis-interpreting, but the report on "stop and frisk" seems to reinforce the case that racial profiling still prevails. That there were MORE non-whites stopped, but that more whites proved justified seems to say that whites who are stopped have more frequently shown cause, which is reflected in the higher proportion of whites leading to arrest. It still seems to suggest that non-whites are stopped without cause more frequently.

Nov. 26 2007 11:17 AM
Leo from Queens

Brian, Can you ask if there were ANY reforms made resulting from the debacle of the woman who died of a heart attack at the beginning of Bloomberg's administration resulting from incorrect information given my a police informant?

In that case, the NY PD failed to scope out the apt that was reported as being a drug dealing place and even failed to verify the information. They stormed into the woman's apt causing her death. At the time the commissioner's 'response' was to suspend the practice of relying on informants.
THis is a serious case of civilians being put in mortal danger, police officers being put in mortal danger and not relying on investigation and intelligence but relying on criminals getting concession from the Dept in exchange for tips

Nov. 26 2007 11:16 AM
Watching You

Id rather be stopped and frisked unnecessarily than shot and killed by an undercover officer who finds me "suspicious".

We still have questions about why those officers fired so many shots on unarmed men and what the suspects were suspected of.

"shoot first, ask questions later" does not work in our society.

Nov. 26 2007 11:14 AM

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