4:01 pm Apr. 24, 2012
Martin Luther King III, the son of the slain civil rights leader, joined Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, and several City Council members at a press conference outside City Hall denouncing the NYPD's stop-and-frisk tactic, which they say unfairly targets minorities.
Faced with this contention in the past, police commissioner Ray Kelly has challenged critics to come up with an alternative means of keeping rates of violent crime in the city as low as they have been.
I asked Stringer, who has previously expressed broad but fairly vague concern about stop-and-frisk, what policy he would propose instead.
"There's a lot of great, forward-thinking discussion about how we engage young people," Stringer said. "There are programs around the country, Boston, Chicago, L.A., a program called 'cease fire' that speaks to ways of reducing gun fire and homicide."
His aides noted Stringer published a column in The Nation describing other strategies. One is called a "call-in" approach, which, Stringer writes, is "where gang members, drug dealers and other 'bad actors' are summoned to a meeting with law enforcement, clergy, community leaders and social services organizations."
At the press conference, NYCLU executive director Donna Lieberman said it was unfair for Kelly even to ask lawmakers for alterneratives to his policing policies.
"The commissioner is responsible for policing our streets," she said. "He is responsible for figuring out how to do that in a way that respects human dignity ... For him to throw it back to any one of us is absolutely unacceptable."