NYPD’s Ray Kelly wanted to “instill fear” in minority youth

The testimony of a New York state senator in landmark trial reveals the commissioner's stop-and-frisk intentions

Topics: NYPD, Ray Kelly, stop-and-frisk, Racism, Police, floyd vs. city of new york,

In the latest striking revelation about the internal mechanisms of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices, a New York state senator testified that police commissioner Ray Kelly once said he intended to “instill fear” in black and Latino young men with the controversial tactic.

State Sen. Eric Adams, a retired NYPD captain, took the stand Monday in the landmark Floyd vs. City of New York federal trial, which challenges the constitutionality of the racially skewed stop-and-frisk tactic. Adams told the court about a 2010 meeting between Kelly and New York’s then-Gov. David Patterson. Adams, also present at the meeting, testified that the commissioner had expressly stated that black and Latino men should be targeted in police stops. Kelly, according to the city’s attorney, has flatly denied making such claims.

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Ryan Devereaux reported for the Guardian:

Adams had traveled to Albany for a meeting on 10 July 2010 with the governor to give his support for a bill that would prohibit the NYPD from maintaining a database that would include the personal information of individuals stopped by the police but released without a charge or summons. In discussing the bill, which ultimately passed, Adams said he raised the issue of police stops disproportionately targeting young African American and Latino men.

“[Kelly] stated that he targeted and focused on that group because he wanted to instil fear in them that every time that they left their homes they could be targeted by police,” Adams testified.

“How else would we get rid of guns,” Adams said Kelly asked him.

Adams told the court he was stunned by the commissioner’s claim and immediately expressed his concerns. “I was amazed,” Adams testified. “I told him that was illegal.”

 

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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