The leadership of the New York Civil Liberties Union today cautioned that a stop-and-frisk demonstration for reporters in the Bronx was little more than stagecraft that will do nothing to reform a practice that regularly violates the constitutional rights of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers from communities of color.

“No amount of stagecraft or role-play changes the reality for people of color on the streets of New York who live in fear that every trip to the corner store or walk home from school will end up against the wall or face down on the ground,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “The mayor and police commissioner have been talking a lot about courtesy lately but New York City does not have a problem with courtesy, or PR – New York City is facing a civil rights crisis. The silence from the commissioner on changes to the quota system that now drives the stop-and-frisk regime is deafening. The NYPD is out of control, and the culture and practices of the Department need a full-scale overhaul so that the fundamental rights of all New Yorkers are respected and all communities can trust and respect the police.”

In response to discriminatory policing practices like the abuse of stop-and-frisk, the NYCLU and our allies in Communities United for Police Reform are working to pass the Community Safety Act, a series of City Council bills that would strengthen the definition of discrimination, ensure that New Yorkers understand their right to not consent to searches where no probable cause or warrant exists, require that NYPD officers identify themselves when conducting stop-and-frisks or engaging in other police activities, and create an NYPD Inspector General’s office.