AP: Advocates flock to NYC hearing on police practices

(VOCAL leader Brian Pearson was interviewed at the City Council’s first hearing on the Community Safety Act, a package of bills that would reform biased policing practices, including stop and frisk. You can read Brian’s testimony to the City Council testimony on his experiences and VOCAL-NY’s support for the legislation here.)

Advocates flock to NYC hearing on police practices

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 | By: ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK: Political leaders, rights advocates and average New Yorkers poured out their frustrations with “stop and frisks” and other police tactics Wednesday at a City Hall hearing on lawmakers’ most wide-ranging effort in years to set new rules and force new oversight on the NYPD.

City Council members railed against the hundreds of thousands of stop-and-frisk encounters officers conduct on city streets each year, calling the stops discriminatory and ineffective.

Brian Pearson, 36, a construction worker [and VOCAL-NY leader] who lives in Queens, says he has been stopped and frisked at least five times. Pearson said he has a drug record, but he said most of the stops haven’t resulted even in an arrest.

“I get nervous easy, and they just pursue, like I’m automatically guilty” because of appearing anxious, Pearson said outside Wednesday’s hearing, where he’d planned to testify but had to leave for work.

The proposals under discussion would require officers to explain why they are stopping people, tell them when they have a right to refuse a search and hand out business cards identifying themselves. Another would give people more latitude to sue over stops they considered biased.

Read the full article here. Find out more about Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), a powerful and diverse coalition to end biased policing practices, on their website www.changethenypd.org.

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