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“Illegal weapons are flooding our city’s streets,” the eerie voice says amongst pictures of AK-47s. “Out of state gun hoarders have made it all too easy to acquire an illegal gun if the price is right. It is our job as professional police officers to legally detect and remove guns by arresting the offenders. This important task ensures the public’s safety.”
So begins the video presented to a Manhattan court this week by NYPD attorneys. The footage was used as a defense in Floyd v. City of New York, the case that seeks to upend stop and frisk as an unconstitutional and biased infringement on civilian rights. It’s shown to officers in training and basically runs as a ‘How To’ for the controversial procedure.
And, boy, does it make you uncomfortable.
The narrator advises officers to constantly be cautious of “furtive movements,” in which suspects look and act out of the ordinary. Given the present officer’s perspective and opinions, that could virtually mean anything. Later on, officers are told to not “be shy about going into the crotch area.” So that’s great to hear.
The video justifies stop and frisk as a deterrent to the illegal gun flow going in and out of the city. This is also the argument being taken up by the NYPD in the court. But that argument doesn’t necessarily make sense because here’s what we know:
Illegal guns were found in 0.1% of stops in 2012 and, as Bloomberg’s law enforcement force elevated stop and frisk in use by 700 percent between 2003 and 2012, only 176 additional guns were actually found. The bossman himself has even said stop and frisk doesn’t do much to stop shootings whatsoever.
Conclusion: there goes the entire underlying theme of the video and, as a result, the entire underlying argument of the NYPD’s defense. If we look at the situation in this angle, the future of stop and frisk is bleak as a justifiable practice for law and order.