If you do nothing else today, press play and watch this video of a 16-year-old Harlem student named Alvin, who secretly recorded his own stop-and-frisk by three plainclothes NYPD officers who cursed, physically harassed and threatened to arrest this child for looking at them as he walked down a public sidewalk. In the shocking audio clip, obtained by The Nation, Alvin repeatedly asks the officers why they’ve stopped him, only to be intimidated with threats that they’ll break his arm, punch him in the face and arrest him for being a “fu*king mutt.”
The audio-clip of Alvin’s stop-and-frisk is highlighted in this video, along with interviews of working police officers who say that the controversial program is pushed by higher-ups in the department simply to meet arrest, summons and stop-and-search numbers—a practice they say undermines their ability to fight actual crime and their credibility in the communities they serve. To say this 13-minute video, shot, directed and produced by Ross Tuttle, is disturbing would be the understatement of life.
Because it shows exactly how our children are being hunted like dogs.
Alvin is one of our sons and daughters. He is one of our nephews and nieces. He is your best friend’s boy—the kid who plays basketball on your child’s team, who sits next to him in class. He is your neighbor. He is you. Not just in New York, but in Atlanta and Chicago, Mississippi and New Orleans, Houston and Compton and name-your-city in Anywhere, USA. And we are paying police officers with our hard-earned tax dollars to treat our children like hardened criminals, worthy of broken bodies and earfuls of curse words and unwanted rides in the back of police cars, simply for having brown skin.
Why is this okay? Why do we continue to let politicians like billionaire New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly push this state-sanctioned profiling of our children, excusing it as nothing more than an “inconvenience” as invasive as getting stuck in an elevator or traffic? After all, the program doesn’t even work. Statistics confirmed by the police department itself proves that much. Of the almost 700,000 people stopped in New York alone last year, a whopping 85 percent of them were black and Latino. But only roughly one in nine of those stopped was found actually arrested for anything. Epic. Fail. On so many levels, it’s not even funny.
There are people working hard to change this policy—just last night, the City Council met to consider four bills aimed at curbing stop-and-frisk and appointing an Inspector General, which would give victims a voice against the policy—but getting any kind of clear legislative remedy has been impossible. Apparently, politicians are just fine having our new millenium children treated as if we’re still in the Jim Crow South, forbidden from even looking at a specific group of people without incurring their racist wrath.
I promise you, this video makes me so incredibly sad. And angry as hell. You should feel the same way, too—every human should, regardless of color, political affiliation, sexual orientation or gender. Wrong is damn wrong. And you can’t get no more wrong than this.
1. “Justifiable” Stop & Search Before Tyler Perry: One Man’s Harrowing Story Of Racial Profiling
2. Teenager Killed in Florida by Neighborhood Watch Brings Terror To My Heart
3. Black Boy Swagger, Black Mom Fear
4. Enough. (Don’t Let Aiyana Jones Die In Vain)
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.