Sunday, 10 June 2012

Finally, momentum against stop-and-frisk

An unusual coalition is building to confront Bloomberg’s awful stop-and-frisk law that lets the city cops criminalize all non-white males and treat them like shit. The latest and most positive development is that the city’s influential LGBT groups have weighed in definitively and endorsed a Father’s Day march against the disgusting and racist practice. It was heartwarming to see the gay leadership at a news conference in front of the Stonewall Inn this week with Sharpton and other black figures who usually have to denounce the cops’ excesses pretty much alone. Unions were represented, too, as well as the NAACP.

The NYPD is on track to record 800,000 street stops this year, a 20 percent annual increase. Black and Hispanic kids in certain neighborhoods can expect to be pulled over by cops and patted down weekly. There’s even a term for any kid who hasn’t had his turn yet: a ‘stop-and-frisk virgin’. The alleged idea is to take guns off the streets, which must be the last gun control measure permitted in the entire 50 states by now. But it’s directed at those you know, wink wink, other people, so it’s okay. Cops also love to use marijuana busts to get the kids fingerprinted and their data into the criminal system, where they can stay for life.

The gay and lesbian powers are a little hesitant about confronting Bloomberg on this or any other issue since he’s in their corner on marriage equality and other hot-button issues. Gay politics just comes backed with a lot more cash and privilege than the people usually objecting to black teenagers getting pushed around, which is what makes this so interesting.

But there’s an intersect that has awakened the LGBT crowd to stop-and-frisk abuse: harassment of underage gay kids, especially transgenders. The issue has been brewing for a number of years, and the TG contingent has become better organized and more vocal about the repeated incidents. It’s a small step from there to seeing the larger picture: that the kids aren’t getting stopped just because they’re young queens with no place to hang out, but because they’re young BLACK queens with no place to hang out.

Paul Schindler, editor of the excellent Gay City News, came out strongly against stop-and-frisk in an editorial and a front-page feature and noted the significant presence of our city council president, ambitious Chrstine Quinn, at the announcement. Quinn, who just married her female partner, is angling to be the next mayor, and though she is a shameless hack who has nested comfortably underneath Bloomberg’s undershirts for a decade, her flip against stop-and-frisk is a strong signal. That and the backing of the gay lobby are turning up the heat on the cops just a year from the race to succeed Mayor Mike, who continues to insist that stop-and-frisk is a great idea.

Here’s a chance to make a difference: join me at the Father’s Day event, June 17, 110th Street and Fifth Avenue, 12:00 noon.

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