By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
To get back to Brad Lander’s proposal to show the rest of this nation how New York City can again be the land of the free and the home of the brave: Brad Lander begins with the revelation—to some of us—that “the NYPD—despite its size and operations—stands alone among major American police departments for lacking any meaningful independent oversight. L.A., Chicago, and Philadelphia all have broad independent bodies with subpoena power . . . The only agencies with something to fear are those that are not obeying the law.”
So how is this city finally going to have an NYPD Inspector General? Brad Lander is working with Jumaane Williams of the City Council, the New York Civil Liberties Union, the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition, Communities United for Police Reform (described in my previous column), the Brennan Center for Justice, and other organizations to bring into necessary being an NYPD Inspector General.
Having known Justice William Brennan for years, I expect he would agree with Brad Lander that “we need a NYPD Inspector General in place, so we can have confidence that both our safety and our liberties are being protected.”
Meanwhile, with Commissioner Kelly proudly championing his notorious “stop-and-frisk” policy that earmarks an ever-increasing number of blacks and Latinos as New Yorkers under suspicion, I challenge him to read—and publicly reply to—Leonard Greene’s March 30 New York Post column (which that newspaper’s editorial writers should also read): “Having ‘the Talk’: A Painful Rite for All Black Parents.”
Voice readers who are neither black nor Latino should try role reversal and become engaged in “real-world conversations where adolescents are instructed about how to deal with police when they are stopped for no good reason.”
Greene cites Reverend Conrad Tillard of Brooklyn’s Nazarene Congregational Church, and the father of four sons and one daughter: “He knew it was time to talk to one of his sons when he saw the boy tense up with fear at the sight of police who had stopped him days earlier on the subway.”
The boy knew he hadn’t done anything wrong. Another father, Eric Adams, a state senator and former police captain, “had the same conversation with his son after the boy was stopped in a movie theater for no good reason.”
Says Adams: “In one breath, you say that in this country, you can be anything you want to be on your ability. You give them the speech. Yet he can’t sit down and enjoy a movie.”
During that painful rite when parents are having “the talk,” Adams, like other black parents, “tells his child that he has to be beyond being respectful (to the frisking cop). He has to bend over backwards . . . It’s not a comfortable conversation, but it’s a real conversation for this day and time.”
Yes, as long as Ray Kelly is the police commissioner and Michael Bloomberg is our Education Mayor.
I haven’t yet met Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, but from what I’ve heard so far from the various candidates, Stringer is the one sure to move to bring us an independent NYPD Inspector General. Among the other dividends from this appointment, black and Latino parents might have less and less reason to have these painful “talks” with their children.
Have you ever had a conversation like that with your daughter, Mr. Mayor?