Protesters Oppose the Return of Bill Bratton

By Kristina Skorbach, Epoch Times
January 3, 2014 Updated: January 5, 2014

NEW YORK— During an impromptu protest outside police headquarters, a handful of New Yorkers opposed the return of Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

The group is called New Yorkers Against Bratton. They were angry about the city’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, having appointed Bratton as the NYPD lead, saying the commissioner is the inventor of stop and frisk.

During his term as New York’s police commissioner from 1994 to 1996, Bratton implemented a “broken windows” policing technique, which aimed at discouraging criminal activity by having officers monitor specific neighborhoods prone to vandalism and other crimes.

During those two years the number of murders in the city dropped by 40 percent, but there were also dozens of allegedly innocent victims killed by police.

Over time, the technique evolved into stop and frisk, a practice that involves stopping individuals on “reasonable suspicion,” questioning them, and patting them down for weapons.

The practice was then criticized for mostly targeting young black and Latino men and acting as a form of racial profiling.

One of the organizers, Josmar Trujillo, said he’s been stopped a few times by the police.

“I am also the father of two young children who are Latino, and I don’t want them to be stopped in the next few years as well,” Trujillo said.

Another vocal activist, Jose LaSalle, the leader of the Stop “Stop & Frisk” Freedom Fighters group, said that he will do everything possible to get Bratton off his post.

“Even if it takes four years,” LaSalle said.

A criminal defense attorney and member of the activist group, Noha Arafa, has over nine years of experience working with victims of stop and frisk.

“This city has become now a walking prison for people of color,” Arafa said. Some of her clients get stopped on the street more than once a year. But as “a woman of color,” Arafa said that the stop-and-frisk policy becomes personal.

“There can be a day where I don’t know if my child is going to come home,” Arafa said.

Walking out of the police headquarters building, Council member Jumaane Williams was stopped in his tracks by the protesters who demanded to know if he will help them in getting Bratton out of office.

Since stop-and-frisk reform was a major part of de Blasio’s campaign, Williams promised that he will hold the mayor accountable, and that the commissioner is successful in helping reform police practice.

“I’m going to do everything I can to help him be successful,” Williams said. 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly defined the NYPD’s practice of stop and frisk. Epoch Times regrets the error.