Quit the whining
A group called the Center for Constitutional Rights isn’t happy with how the New York City Police Department is handling its business. The organization is complaining that NYPD officers stopped, interrogated and frisked more than half a million people last year, with 80 percent of them being black or Hispanic. By the way, the civil rights group is suing the police department over its stop-and-frisk policies. Of course. The first question that popped into my head was what percentage of crime in New York City is committed by those same groups. In fact, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne notes that the number of minorities who were subjected to such stops was consistent with descriptions provided by crime victims and witnesses. Added Browne, “It should not be surprising that in a city of over 8 million people, where police make approximately 400,000 arrests annually based on probable cause, they would also make approximately 500,000 stops based on the lesser standard of reasonable suspicion.” The rights group also claimed that since 2005, such police stops resulted in the discovery of a weapon only 2.6 percent of the time. Said Darius Chaney, an attorney working on the lawsuit, “At that low rate of return, you have to question whether this is a legitimately good crime-fighting strategy.” While I’m sure Mr. Chaney is an expert on fighting crime, I’ll have to disagree with him. If the stop-and-frisk policy stops even one robbery, one rape or one murder, I’d say it’s worthwhile. Years ago, I was sitting in my car outside my house in South Carolina when a police officer, gun drawn, approached the vehicle and asked me to put my hands on the steering wheel. Of course, I complied. He was looking for a suspect in a rape that had occurred nearby, and I matched the general description of the criminal. He was just doing his job in determining whether I was the guy they were seeking. When he questioned me and determined that I wasn’t the rapist, he and I both went on our way. It never occurred to me to sue him and his police department for violating my civil rights as an Irish-American. How silly of me.