Hey, Ray Kelly, Frisk This

Governor David Paterson slaps down the Police Commissioner's stop-and-frisk database, but it's only a start

Daily News reporter John Marzulli wrote: “The cops were apparently in no mood for a legal debate and hauled off both women to Brooklyn Central Booking. The unspecified criminal charges were later dismissed, according to the suit.”

In a July 3 letter to The New York Times, Eugene O’Donnell, a former NYPD officer and New York City prosecutor (also a lecturer on law and police studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice), writes: “For too many minority New Yorkers, the sight of a passing police car brings a sense of dread and angst, the terrible feeling that they do not yet enjoy the full liberties the Constitution promises. . . . It ignores, too, the fact that many street cops bristle at the constant pressure that coarsens a profession that is overwhelmingly rooted in service.”

How did we the people of New York City allow this long-term disgrace to continue?

I hope the next governor, very likely Andrew Cuomo, will not only publicly commend his predecessor but also continue to insist on “equal protection of the laws” in this city and throughout the state, including the NYPD stop-and-frisks.

As for Michael Bloomberg (still envisioning himself in the Oval Office) and Ray Kelly (thinking of succeeding Bloomberg), their albatross is this contempt of due process that, as Governor Paterson said, “might have worked in the Soviet Union.”

My first reaction when Ray Kelly appeared to cave after Paterson signed the bill was: Why didn’t he wait and go to contest the new law? But it quickly became clear that the NYPD will remain an albatross to Kelly, Bloomberg, and the Constitution. The new rule is that the stop-and-frisk dragnet continues, but cops will record the personal information (names, addresses, Social Security Numbers) of those stopped on paper (the UF-250 forms). Those forms will go into a precinct file, but not the NYPD computer system.

And how do we know how the paper files in the precincts will be used? There are other constitutional questions Kelly and Bloomberg are dancing past. The NYCLU is watching closely. I am, too.

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