Category Archives: Criminal Justice System

Ray Kelly and NYPD: How the NYPD Has Opened the Floodgates for Social Media Spying

As Published on PolicyMic

The new media culture has infiltrated every sector of society. It has created careers and positions in the nonprofit and marketing world, political campaigns, entertainment industry, and news publications. Now, we can add law enforcement to the growing list.

Last week, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly issued a memo that lays out the groundwork for utilizing social media for police investigations. According to the memo, officers who use social media for investigations can register their social media aliases and pseudonyms with the department. They are also limited to using the user account and trolling the web on a department computer/laptop on site.

While the NYPD’s blatant racial/ethnic profiling and wanton disregard for any concept of privacy is clear in their surveillance of Muslim communities and unwarranted frisks of young black and brown men, the line is conveniently obscure when it comes to online practices.

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Arizona Bill is Bold, But Wrong

As Published on PolicyMic

On Wednesday morning, hoards of protesters and supporters of Arizona’s S.B. 1070 rallied in front of the Supreme Court. As the Courts, yet again, deliberate on a politically charged issue that will certainly contribute to this year’s debates, Americans from the Right and Left weigh-in on the constitutionality of what is quite possibly the most controversial immigration law to date.

S.B. 1070 is essentially an overreaching and valiant attempt of states to make up for the federal government’s reluctance to act on long-overdue hotbed issues that have affected the economic, social and civil well-being of the nation for decades. While it is more than understandable that states that infinitely face the tough conundrum of dealing with immigration have grown impatient with the Executive and Legislative branches and choose to take matters into their own hands, that responsibility still rests in the federal government’s pens and papers.

The legitimate grievances that have been expressed on the opposing side of S.B. 1070 are not the ones that condemn the state for practicing “attrition through enforcement,” or the principle of aggressively enforcing all anti-immigration laws to deter the unlawful entry and presence of illegal aliens, nor the ones that engage in moral discourse surrounding the proverbial family and small business that is torn to shreds because of a supposedly hypocritical conservative political climate that “forgets we all were once immigrants.” What truly deserves credence is the contention that the legislation (1) sanctions racial profiling and (2) oversteps state rights. Read More…

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After TSA Patdown, Rand Paul and Ron Paul Should Condemn NYPD’s Stop-and-Frisk

As posted on PolicyMic

This week, Nashville, Tennessee, “The Athens of the South,” nearly transformed into an ordinary day on the streets of Brooklyn, New York. After the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) detained Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) at the Nashville International Airport when he refused to partake in an invasive pat down, the Senator and his supporters had every right to cry foul. However, Monday’s narrative is all too similar to the oft-downplayed reality that many innocent black males face when confronted by the NYPD’s Stop-and-Frisk. It would be quite a powerful statement if Sen. Paul uses his situation to link the two and confront the misguided supporters of the so-called “security” practices.

The TSA’s paranoia-masked safety measures are hardly different than the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policies — both are over-the-top practices that hardly protect the public as much as they create a dichotomy between the innocent and “the system.” Unfortunately, the biggest difference between Paul’s scenario and a black male in Brooklyn are the collateral consequences. For the man in Brooklyn, he will either be issued a trumped-up ticket or held in the stationhouse so that officers can take his information and improve their precinct’s push to meet 250s and C-Summonses quotas while the detainee accepts it as another day in the neighborhood. On the contrary, Paul and his father, Congressman and presidential hopeful Ron Paul (R-Texas), can use this situation to magnify how our “police nation” is violating our civil liberties — and make a few dollars for their campaign war chests while they’re at it.

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End Stop-and-Frisk: It’s Time to Police the Police

As published on Policy Mic

A handful of activists and students congregated in front of Pace University, just over five blocks from Zuccotti Park, to express their grievances. However, they weren’t joining the chorus of Wall Street dissenters; they were addressing a longstanding inner-city issue that has recently received more media attention because of the unnecessary force and searches being practiced by officers at the Occupy protests.

The quintessence of excessive force and illegal searches and seizures is manifested in the NYPD’s practice of stop-and-frisk. The act disproportionately affects people of color and hardly gets guns and drugs off the street as much as it is used to meet quotas and fortify precinct crime stats towards the end of the month.

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Policing the Law

As posted on the Democrat and Chronicle’s Young Professionals

With the advent of the Occupy protests, activism has met its foe in police misconduct. From instances of excessive force to unfair searches and seizures, a new segment of the public has turned its attention to questionable policing practices.

However, well before Occupy Wall Street was merely a vision, there’s been a growing stream line of New York City based grassroots organizations that challenge the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk — the manifestation of excessive force and illegal search and seizure. The unethical practice is costly, ineffective and continues to perpetuate a taut relationship between officers and communities of color. With the vast majority of the individuals who are stop-and-frisked being people of color (in 2010, 87% of the stop-and-frisks and 90% of the summons were issued to blacks and Latinos, with force being used in 93% of the cases) the policy reinforces the NYPD’s image as an occupying force in inner-city communities that contributes to a pipeline of black youth going from the playground to the prison yard.


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Prison Reform Is Needed in California

At the beginning of this month, California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) commenced its prison realignment plan per the orders of the Supreme Court. CDCR’s realignment involves transporting non-serious, nonviolent, and/or nonsexual offenders from its notoriously overcrowded adult prison system to local county jails in an effort to reduce the current inmate population of 156,000 by about 40,000 within the next two years. California’s prison population has ballooned to the extent that gymnasiums were converted into makeshift sleeping quarters, single toilets are being shared by 54 inmates, and the mental and medical healthcare services can no longer treat the influx of inmates.

The Supreme Court’s May ruling that CDCR’s 200% over-capacity adult prison system is a blatant case of cruel and unusual punishment and reintroduces the outcry for prison reform. Stakeholders and policymakers must not take CDCR’s over-capacity, high recidivism rates (67.5% as opposed to the national average of 52%), and health care insufficiencies as an anomalous issue — America’s 2.3 million prison population, which is twice that of England’s and four times as much as France’s prison population, is a well-documented dilemma that warrants immediate attention.

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14 Years After Louima, Where Are We Now?

Fourteen years ago, the symbol of police brutality was engendered in the 70th precinct station house in Brooklyn when a 30-year-old Haitian immigrant was violently and involuntarily forced into the dialogue for police accountability when officer Justin Volpe sodomized him with a broken plunger stick and shoved it in his faces. Since the infamous Abner Louima case, the now 44-year-old received an $8.1 million settlement in 2001 and continues to vouch for better police conduct and stronger relations between officers and black communities. As for Volpe, he is still serving his 30 year sentence.

In light of the anniversary of 1997′s heinous events, I think that this is the most appropriate time for us to evaluate how police relations stand in urban communities today and to re-energize ourselves for a tireless but obtainable adjustment. By evaluating and improving police conduct and relations in urban communities, we are also addressing a tense “us-and-them” mentality that may contribute to the mass incarceration of black males.

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