New York Daily News: Stalwart Defender Of NYPD's Most Controversial Policies

››› ››› BRIAN POWELL

Despite serious legal questions surrounding the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk policy and Muslim surveillance program, the editorial board of the New York Daily News has been an unquestioning defender of the NYPD.

New York Daily News Cheerleads NYPD's Controversial "Stop-And-Frisk" Policy

NYDN's Editorial Board Has Defended "Stop-And-Frisk" In Every Editorial On The Subject. According to a Media Matters analysis, the NYDN opinion page has featured six editorials on the NYPD "stop-and-frisk" program since the NYDN reported that NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was looking into the policy; all of the editorials defended the practice. [LexisNexis, 5/9/12-5/31/12; NYDailyNews.com, 5/9/12-5/31/12]

  • METHODOLOGY: Results are based on i.) Nexis search for: "frisk OR "stop and question" AND NYPD OR "police department"" since 4/11/12 and ii.) NYDailyNews.com archive search for "NYPD" in the NYDN Opinion section since 4/11/12.

NYPD's Stop-And-Frisk Policy May Be Unconstitutional

Center For Constitutional Rights: "Nearly 150,000 Stops Over The Last Six Years Are Facially Unconstitutional." From the Center for Constitutional Rights:

Floyd, et al. v. City of New York, et al. is a federal class action lawsuit filed against the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and the City of New York that challenges the NYPD's practices of racial profiling and unconstitutional stop-and frisks. These NYPD practices have led to a dramatic increase in the number of suspicion-less stop-and-frisks per year in the city, with the majority of stops in communities of color. [...]

  • Most stops occur in Black and Latino neighborhoods, and even after adjustments for other factors including crime rates, social conditions and allocation of police resources in those neighborhoods, race is the main factor determining NYPD stops.
  • Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to be stopped than Whites even in areas with low crime rates, where populations are mixed or mostly White.
  • Nearly 150,000 stops over the last six years are facially unconstitutional and lack any legal justification. All together, 30 percent of all stops are unconstitutional, underlining a severe lack of adequate officer oversight in the NYPD. [CCRjustice.org, accessed 5/23/12, emphasis added]

NYCLU: Since Mayor Bloomberg's First Year In Office, Street Stops Have Increased 600 Percent -- "Nine Out Of 10 Of People Stopped Were Innocent." From a report on stop-and-frisk published by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU):

Last year, the NYPD stopped and interrogated people 685,724 times, a more than 600 percent increase in street stops since Mayor Bloomberg's first year in office when there were only 97,296 stops. Nine out of 10 of people stopped were innocent, meaning they were neither arrested nor ticketed. [NYCLU.org, 5/9/12]

NYCLU: "Black And Latino New Yorkers Were More Likely To Be Frisked Than Whites And Were Less Likely To Be Found With A Weapon." [NYCLU.org, 5/9/12]

NYCLU: "Young Black And Latino Men Were The Targets Of A Hugely Disproportionate Number Of Stops." From the NYCLU study:

Young black and Latino men were the targets of a hugely disproportionate number of stops. Though they account for only 4.7 percent of the city's population, black and Latino males between the ages of 14 and 24 accounted for 41.6 percent of stops in 2011. The number of stops of young black men exceeded the entire city population of young black men (168,126 as compared to 158,406). Ninety percent of young black and Latino men stopped were innocent. [NYCLU.org, 5/9/12]

Federal Court Judge: NYPD Justification For Thousands Of Stops Were "Facially Insufficient." From WNYC, citing the federal judge who approved class-action status to the lawsuit against the NYPD:

[Judge Scheindlin] also noted how thousands of stops -- on the face of the [stop-and-frisk reports] alone -- reflected "facially insufficient" stops. For example, she found the sole justification of "furtive movements" too subjective and vague to form the basis for reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, and that "high crime area" was checked off on forms in all precincts, including precincts with low crime rates.

Criminal justice advocates say, therefore, a detailed conversation with the officer who conducted the stop is necessary to truly evaluate whether the stop was lawful.

"Merely looking at the paper wouldn't be sufficient," said former New York State governor Eliot Spitzer, who served as the state's Attorney General between 1999 and 2006. "What needs to then follow from that is a conversation, an inquiry, about what factors are legitimate factors in being the foundation for a stop and then a frisk."

While attorney general, Spitzer commissioned a study in 1999 of citywide stop and frisks, which concluded that people of color were disproportionately impacted. [WNYC.org, 5/18/12, emphasis added]

New York Daily News Cheerleads NYPD's Controversial Muslim Surveillance Policy

NYDN Editorial Board Has Defended NYPD's Muslim Surveillance Program In All Sixteen Editorials On The Subject. According to a Media Matters analysis, the NYDN opinion page has featured sixteen editorials on the NYPD Muslim surveillance program since the Associated Press uncovered the existence of the practice in August 2011; all of them defended the surveillance program. [LexisNexis, 8/22/11-5/31/12; NYDailyNews.com, 8/22/11-5/31/12]

  • METHODOLOGY: Results are based on i.) Nexis search for: "Muslim AND NYPD" since 8/22/11 and ii.) NYDailyNews.com search for "Muslim AND NYPD AND spying" in the NYDN's Opinion section since 8/22/11.

NYPD's Muslim Surveillance Program May Threaten National Security Or Violate The Law

Associated Press: NYPD "Subjected Entire Neighborhoods To Surveillance And Scrutiny, Often Because Of The Ethnicity Of The Residents, Not Because Of Any Accusations Of Crimes." From an investigative report by the Associated Press:

AP's investigation has revealed that the NYPD dispatched undercover officers into minority neighborhoods as part of a human mapping program. Police also used informants, known as "mosque crawlers," to monitor sermons, even when there was no evidence of wrongdoing.

The AP also determined that police subjected entire neighborhoods to surveillance and scrutiny, often because of the ethnicity of the residents, not because of any accusations of crimes. Hundreds of mosques and Muslim student groups were investigated and dozens were infiltrated. Many of these operations were built with help from the CIA, which is prohibited from spying on Americans but was instrumental in transforming the NYPD's intelligence unit after 9/11. [Associated Press, accessed 5/31/12]

FBI Official: "Trust Is Being Challenged ... And It's The Trust And Those Relationships That Provide The True Security Against Terrorism." From The Star-Ledger in New Jersey:

As friction over the New York Police Department's spying on New Jersey Muslims continues to grow, the state's top FBI officer said the uproar is damaging his agency's ability to gather important counterterrorism intelligence.

"What we have now is (Muslim communities) ... that they're not sure they trust law enforcement in general, they're fearing being watched, they're starting to withdraw their activities," Michael Ward, director of the FBI's Newark division, said Tuesday (March 6).

"And the impact of that sinking tide of cooperation means that we don't have our finger on the pulse of what's going on in the community as well -- we're less knowledgeable, we have blind spots, and there's more risk."

In his first public comments on the deepening controversy, Ward said the FBI has spent the years after 9/11 opening lines of communication with New Jersey's Muslim communities.

"Now that trust is being challenged, those relationships are being strained," he said, his voice rising with emphasis. "And it's the trust and those relationships that provide the true security against terrorism." [The Star-Ledger, 3/7/12, emphasis added]

NYCLU: Surveillance Of The Muslim Community "Runs Afoul" Of The Law. From Reuters:

Legal experts say any court challenge based on claims of racial or religious profiling would face high hurdles. Instead, they say, any successful case would likely come down to a single paragraph in a longstanding court order that governs the department's surveillance of political activity. The paragraph, part of the "Handschu guidelines," sets conditions for NYPD officers who visit public places or events during anti-terrorism investigations. It prohibits them from keeping records of their observations unless the information is related to "potential unlawful activity" - a ban critics say the NYPD has ignored.

Scrutiny of the surveillance program increased after the Associated Press reported last August the CIA was helping police gather intelligence from mosques and minority neighborhoods. The NYPD kept tabs on Muslim neighborhoods by sending undercover officers into mosques, businesses and college campuses, keeping records of what they found, the AP said.

"There's a very strong suggestion that they are going into the Muslim community, chatting up folks and maintaining records on individuals, which we think runs afoul of the Handschu decree," said Arthur Eisenberg, legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. [Reuters, 3/13/12, emphasis added]

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Racial Justice
Network/Outlet
New York Daily News
Stories/Interests
State Media
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