The Watering Hole, Saturday, June 29, 2013: Don’t Weep For the White Man

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s NYPD (the largest and most heavily armed police force in the country; the mayor brags that it’s the seventh largest army in the world) has a stop-question-and-frisk program that has generated not just a lot of heavy criticism from civil libertarians, but lawsuits that cost the city hundreds of millions of dollars. The reason for the controversy is that when police figures on how many such stops made were finally released, they showed that not only were the numbers of stops increasing at an alarming rate every year, but that nearly 90% of those stopped were young black or Latino males. And about 90% of those stopped were completely innocent of any kind of wrongdoing. It has gotten so bad that the Justice Department has joined a lawsuit against the city’s policies.

The debate over stop-and-frisk became a focal point for NYPD critics last May after the New York Civil Liberties Union released statistics showing police stops have risen sharply during Bloomberg’s administration – from 160,851 in 2003 to 685,724 in 2011. About half of the 2011 stops resulted in physical searches.

The analysis also concluded that the policy disproportionately targets minorities, and noted that in 2011, NYPD records showed police conducted more stops of black males between the ages of 14 and 24 than the total number of young black males living in New York City. Just 1.8 percent of searches of minority suspects that year resulted in weapons seizures.

The DoJ supports having a court-appointed monitor look over the program, while the Mayor and NYPD vehemently disagree (of course). Proponents of the program claim (as they often do when they exceed their authority under the Constitution) it is a vital part of how murder rates have fallen to historic lows, but the ends do not justify the means, nor does the logic. The murder rate in NYC was on the decline before stop-and-frisk became the policy, and other major US cities have seen their murder rates drop without the use of any stop-and-frisk policies. Proponents also claim that the program is removing guns from the street, but the NYPD’s own statistics do not support that claim – less than 0.2% of all stops result in the seizure of a gun.

You may wonder how such a program could be Constitutional. You would be smart to do so. The mayor claims the program is permissible based on the Supreme Court decision in Terry v. Ohio. But as I read about that case, one striking difference is that the suspects in that case were actually engaging in behavior that any reasonable person would conclude was suspicious. (They walked back and forth in front a store, peering each time to see inside, then Met at the end of the street to converse before going back to look inside again. I think any reasonable person would have suspected that they were casing the joint in preparation for a robbery, possibly even a murder of someone inside. I’m a liberal libertarian and even I would have said the cop had a right to suspect a crime was about to go down.) In many stop and frisk cases there is no real suspicion that any criminal activity is going on at all. But they do have a form they’re supposed to fill put explaining why they made the stop. They also give quarterly reports to the NYC Council, but those reports do not have the same level of detail that the forms do.

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) issued a report in May that suggests, among other things, that the stop and frisk program is less about getting guns off the street and more about making marijuana arrests. While the program got 792 guns off the street, it also resulted in more than 5,000 arrests for possession of pot. In New York State, possession of small amounts of pot not in plain view is a violation punishable by a fine and not a criminal arrest. But cops would insist that detainees empty their pockets, and when a joint or bag of weed comes out, the cops charge them with possessing pot “in plain view.” That is, of course, bullshit, because the pot would never have been visible if the cops hadn’t ordered the detainee to empty his pockets. The cops were, in essence, forcing their detainees to violate the law and then arresting them for it.

So why bring this up now? Because despite all the apparent evidence that minorities are being disproportionately stopped and frisked, Mayor Mike Bloomberg thinks that white people are getting stopped too much and minorities too little. I’m not making that up.

Mayor Bloomberg claimed that people of color should be stopped and frisked more — not less — while whites are stopped too frequently.

“I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little. It’s exactly the reverse of what they say,” Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show, in response to the City Council passing two bills aimed at reining in the controversial policing tactic.

His justification for doing the stops is devoid of logic.

To buttress the mayor’s remarks, his office released a set of statistics. The numbers showed that 87% of the people stopped under stop-and-frisk in 2012 were black or Latino, and that 9% were white. That same year, more than 90% of those identified as murder suspects were blacks or Latino; just 7% were white.

Of course, that rationale assumes that every murder or violent crime has a reliable witness. Many crimes don’t have witnesses, which is how the criminals get away. Then there are the crimes that go unreported, which is impossible to measure because you don’t know if a crime has been committed if nobody says anything. Also witnesses do lie. Former Comptroller Bill Thompson, the only black mayoral candidate, said of Mayor Bloomberg, “He basically said that if you’re black or Latino, you’re automatically a murder suspect,” Mr. Thompson said. “It just continues to show how out of touch the mayor is.”

But Bloomberg also ignores the fact that a study found that the white people stopped and frisked were twice as likely to have a gun than minorities. When you couple that with how few stops result in the confiscation of a weapon, where is the justification for Bloomberg’s assertion that white people are getting stopped too much? Too much for whom, the white mayor of New York?

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Stop and Frisk or anything else you wish to discuss. Please, no weapons.

150 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Saturday, June 29, 2013: Don’t Weep For the White Man

  1. Round up the usual suspects….

    crime prevention through intimidation.

    guilty of breathing while black, or latino, or any other non-white.

    4th Amendment? what 4th Amendment. this is a post 9/11 world. Everything changed.

    The new Pearl Harbor moment came and went, and we, the people, ceded more power to the federal government at the expense of the Bill of Rights – for the illusion of security.

    in return the government continues to sew the seeds of revolution everywhere – with every unjustified stop, every intrusive search, every subsequent arrest….

    totalitarianism – authoritarianism

    equal and opposite reaction – freedom fighters, aka terrorists.

    If you’re not with us, you’re with the terrorists.

    We’re watching who you call, when you call. But we’re not listening into your calls.

    yeah, right.

    People who fancy themselves freedom fighters drop off the radar, disconnect from the electronic age. They move about in shadows, in plain sight they are invisible.

    The invisible dragon is awakening.

    • A recent story here involved a 20 yr old UVA student. Plainclothes officers drew down on her when they suspected she had purchased beer illegally and was trying to flee. She had purchased water and was trying to get away from the crazy threatening men with a badge (ABC enforcement) she didn’t recognize.

  2. Heads up!
    Meet the Press has the following guests tomorrow:
    Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
    Wendy Davis (D-TX state)
    Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) Wants to restore DOMA with a constitutional amendment
    the panel:
    Rachel Maddow
    Jim DeMint
    Ralph Reed
    Michael Eric Dyson
    Pete Williams of NBC

      • I’ll have to watch it delayed. I’ve got the British Grand Prix online at that time. NBC is going to delay the race broadcast, but we’ve got to work on the house tomorrow. She had to work today, so we didn’t try to do anything this morning

        Oh look! Wayne’s question got on the air on the Ed Show!

  3. Watching Karen Finney just now. Kenji Yoshino must have an apartment at MSNBC. He’s been on every show for most of this last week.

  4. So far, a “balmy” 109 here, but the weather service says it “feels” like 103. Yeah, I can definitely feel that difference.

  5. So, Wendy Davis filibustered and became an overnight celebrity.

    Rick Perry counters by calling a new 30-day special session to pass legilation designed to restrict access to legal abortions.

    In my opinion, Texicans should counter by circulating recall petitions in every Republican district to oust every Republican legislator while they are away in special session.

  6. Wayne’s tweet was used as the Ask Ed Live question 31 minutes into the show.

    • Thanks for letting me know, House. I wasn’t able to catch the show as I was visiting my mother. Thanks, Mom!

      What did he say? Or is there video of the segment available?

      And who is that in your gravatar?

      • The video should be up sometime at The Ed Show page. They had it displayed on the screen, then Ed read it and answered:

        “They have an amazing, innate ability to separate the two, and easily do it. I’ve always said that the Democrats are the party that cares about you after you’re born, the Republicans never have. They separate the two because I think that the Republican party and the Conservative movement has always had a very twisted view when it comes to justice. They think the answer to everything is the death penalty. It’s a behavior that they are willing to address and pass judgement on, despite all of their faith connections. They show very little mercy when it comes to the death penalty, yet on abortion, it is now become the real cultural issue that they hold over the heads of the Democrats to help them win favor and hold onto rural America and it ends with a lot of people voting against their best interests when it comes to economics.”

        It was right before the commercial break at the bottom of the hour.

            • That’s way better than a Tweet! I was listening to the show, but looking at the computer monitor, and I heard ‘Wayne Schneider’. I almost gave myself whiplash turning my head to look. Then I saw the ‘A’ and knew it was you. I was typing the reply about Meet the Press above when it happened.

            • First I was getting my tweets on The Ed Show (which was cool enough), then the producers of The Rachel Maddow Show liked one of my tweets enough to put it on their website, then I got a tweet posted on All In With Chris Hayes during one of the commercial interludes (where you often could hear them talking around the table), and then I get Ed Schultz not only reading an edited version of my tweet (I ended it with “like Gov Rick Perry”) but saying my name on the TV machine.

              I’m moving up in the world of Unprofessional Punditry.

  7. And of course:

    Gay marriage opponents ask court to intervene

    California started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, lawyers for the sponsors of the state’s gay marriage ban filed an emergency motion Saturday asking the US Supreme Court to step in and stop the weddings.

    • Why the hell would opponents of gay marriage think the SCOTUS would step in and stop the marriages? Especially when they ruled that the group from Utah had no standing in the case? Does the group from Arizona think THEY have standing, where NOM didn’t? And if SCOTUS DOES stop the marriages, what will be their rationale?

      I don’t get these people? Of what, specifically, are they afraid? Of getting anally raped?

        • RWers frequently make the stupid argument that if something is allowed by law, that we’re all going to be forced to do it against our will. Or, worse, that if one thing is allowed, then everything else you fear that’s related to that one thing will suddenly become mandatory. So, if gay men are allowed to marry, then all men will be forced to marry another man. or if gay marriage is allowed, then you can marry anything because (as they believe and everyone well knows, according to them) gay people are less than human.

      • Of what, specifically, are they afraid? Of getting anally raped?

        Not so much that. They’re afraid they might like it!

    • Queen Esther: “That’s a bit of that lackadaisical eh you know, don’t have to take responsibility. His [Obama] resume proves he hasn’t had to responsibility for much in all these years.”

      The lack of humility and self awareness that’s being displayed here is staggering.

    • Mr. Washington wrapped up perfectly! First heard that Jesse Jackson was ‘defending’ Paula I delved a bit further into the story and discovered that the Deen’s are some of the nastiest, demeaning folk.
      That, of course has been lost in the ‘why are they treated Paula so poorly’…
      answer of course is her behavior needed to be exposed!

    • Disgusting people. It’s worse than I realized. I have someone on my FB friends list who rabidly supports Deen as a fellow “southern woman.”

      I guess I should support white supremacists, since I’ve lived in the same region for so long. πŸ‘Ώ

        • Guilty as charged but I have been out flying when the winds drop a bit. Plus I was able to twist their tails until they went from “I’m not a racist but…” to “I’m a racist; so what?” It was an interesting and rewarding experiment.

    • I’m not getting how he can be a media critic and still believe journalists have to present both sides of an argument. Balance has nothing to do with Journalism. Journalists report facts, Pundits give spin.

      Not only that, but very often, one side of an argument is wrong (as with marriage equality.) There is no point is airing the “concerns” of a bunch of frightened children who are afraid of not being allowed to openly hate people the way they do.

    • I passed by that courthouse when I was riding with my neighbor making mouse deliveries. Starke is the half way point to where he makes the deliveries. It is also the location of Florida’s death row prison.

      • I took the bait and went to http://proofthatgodexists.org/.

        It starts with a selection of buttons to click that make statements. They say things like “Absolute Truth Exists” and “Absolute Truth Doesn’t Exist”, and then leqads to a series of choices. When I got to “You agree that absolute truth exists, that it is unchanging, that logic exists, that it is universal (and some others)” it then said that Truth and Logic were not possible without God, so then you have to click a button that shows you the proof that God exists. BUT THEY PRESUPPOSED THE CONCLUSION THEY WERE TRYING TO PROVE!

        I don’t have the time right now to waste going through every option (though I might someday, maybe this weekend), but they do have a “Contact Us” button. Have fun with them. They failed miserably on the first attempt I went through. They seem to not understand that you can’t use the conclusion you wish to reach as part of your proof that you;re logically correct.. You can’t say “God exists because it wouldn’t be possible for you to argue he doesn’t since he made you.” (Capitalizing pronouns for God offends me.)

        • Okay, I went through the choices again and two things: First, if you go through the sequence in any other way, you get snarky replies. For example, if you choose, “I Don’t Care If Absolute Truth Exists Or Not,” you get redirected to Disney.com home page.

          So, as near as i can tell, the only way to get to their “serious” answer is by making the choices I did. And you get this:

          To reach this page you have admitted that absolute truth exists, that you can know things to be true, that logic exists, that it is unchanging, that it is not made of matter, and that it is universal.

          Truth, knowledge, and logic are necessary to prove ANYTHING and cannot be made sense of apart from God. Therefore…

          You are then invited to click a button saying “The Proof That God Exists…” But, of course, they already presupposed that by claiming “Truth, knowledge, and logic are necessary to prove ANYTHING and cannot be made sense of apart from God”. So it is not a proper proof.

          Anyway, the “proof” reads as follows (and it is not logical, either):

          While this proof is valid, no one needs this proof. The Bible teaches us that there are 2 types of people in this world, those who profess the truth of God’s existence and those who suppress the truth of God’s existence. The options of ‘seeking’ God, or not believing in God are unavailable. The Bible never attempts to prove the existence of God as it declares that the existence of God is so obvious that we are without excuse for not believing in Him.

          Romans 1 vs. 18 – 21 says:

          The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

          God does not send people to Hell for denying what they do not know, but for sin against the God that they do know.

          Lastly, the justification for that presupposition right before the big reveal is also flawed and presupposes God exists:

          Why is God Necessary For:

          Knowledge: Unless one knows everything, or has revelation from someone (God) who does, something we don’t know could contradict what we think we know.

          Truth: If our thoughts are the mere by-products of the electrochemical processes in our evolved brains, you would not get “truth” you would get “brain-fizz.” Chemicals do not produce “truth” they just react. As Doug Wilson said, it would be like shaking up a can of Mountain Dew, and a can of Dr. Pepper, opening them, and watching them fizz. Neither fizz is “true,” they just are. For truth you need someone (God) who transcends the natural realm.

          Universal, immaterial, unchanging logic: For universal, immaterial, unchanging logic, you need someone (God) who is universal (Psalm 90:2), not made of matter (John 4:24) and unchanging (Malachi 3:6). Without God, who has universal knowledge, we could not know anything to be universally true. Without God, who is Spirit (not made of matter), we could not make sense of immaterial things. Without God who is unchanging (and logic is a reflection of the way He thinks), we would have no basis for expecting logic not to change.

          This is not a “proof” at all. It is not logically sound. It presupposes its own conclusion and uses that as proof that it is right.

        • I love how these goofballs insist that they adhere to the rules of logic — OR in the alternative, the rules of logic were made by god, so…yada yada.

    • Paraphrasing one of the commenters (who is an SFPD officer):
      Once we were afraid of being rousted/busted by the police for being gay and now we are the police!

  8. The millionaires in Congress can’t be arsed to do their jobs, so my student loan interest rate will double at midnight.

    More money I’ll never be able to pay back. :/

  9. Why We Allow the Destruction of Our Planet

    “But when a large portion of the population believes that catastrophe is a good thing rather than a bad thing, and wars are celebrated and crises bring excitement and solidarity to our lives, the influence is toxic. Of the 40 percent who believe Jesus is on his way, some no doubt believe it more than others, and allow it to shape more of their other beliefs and actions. Of the other 60 percent, some are no doubt influenced to varying degrees by the armageddonists.”

    http://thehumanist.org/july-august-2013/why-we-allow-the-destruction-of-our-planet/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=why-we-allow-the-destruction-of-our-planet

    • Now that is funny! Excellent Wayne, I really appreciate your posting the Twitter stuff since I don’t tweet. (nor do I want to!)

      • Thank you for that, pachy. I was just starting to wonder if I was wasting my time with the tweets. I post them because I like sharing funny things I find there, and if you happen to use the Twitter, you can reply to them directly from here.

        • I spend way too much time online as it is. I do not need another distraction from my primary job of being retired!

          • If you stayed logged into your Twitter account, you can still reply and retweet from the Tweets I post here. That’s one reason I post them here, so you can give your own snarky replies to people like Mike Huckabee or Donald Trump without having to go to the Twitter and do it from there.

  10. Zooey, I just had a brain fart that could make you rich! Can you make soap that smells like gunpowder? πŸ™‚ You could call it…Victory!

  11. 18 firefighters dead in AZ fire

    Eighteen firefighters battling a blaze in Arizona who were unaccounted for Sunday night have been confirmed dead, said Wade Ward with the Prescott Fire Department.

    All were members of that city’s fire department. It was not immediately clear how they died.

    (emphasis mine)

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