From: Julie N. Fry
Sent: Tuesday, July 26, 2005 3:57 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Tues. 7/26-Stop Illegal NYPD Searches! Say NO to Racial Profiling
Stop Illegal NYPD Searches!
Say NO to Racial Profiling!
Tuesday, July 26
5:00 – 6:00 pm
On Thursday of last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that NYPD would begin searching bags, backpacks and packages passengers on subways, buses, ferries and the commuter rail system, a policy that completely violates the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
But this policy is more than just a violation of an abstract right–it is a dangerous policy of racial, ethnic, and religious profiling. Although the Mayor claims that the NYPD will not engage in racial profiling, the history of the department and the manner in which the searches are already being carried out indicates otherwise. Activists observing the searches throughout the city have observed that almost without exception, everyone targeted for these illegal searches are people of color.
The danger of this policy, and of the climate of fear and repression that it engenders, is clear in the recent police killing in London. Police pursued and then shot a man at point-blank range five times merely because he “looked suspicious.” This man was carrying no weapon, backpack, or suspicious package; his only crime was appearing to be an immigrant. Now the police are admitting that they killed the wrong person, and Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year-old electrician from Brazil, is dead, a victim of a vicious police execution. Both Blair and Bush resort to “us vs. them” language to justify their policies of war and repression, but people on the street know that “us vs. them” usually translates into the police vs. people of color.
The climate created by these oppressive police tactics do not make anyone safer. In fact, the hysteria endangers all people of color and immigrants, and is especially a threat to Muslim, South Asian, and Arab people. It is vital that progressive and antiwar activists rally in solidarity with targeted communities and against unchecked police repression.
There are 4.5 million riders on the subway everyday. There is no way that the NYPD can search even 1 in 20 riders. So who will be searched? It won’t be yuppies carrying briefcases on their way to Wall Street.
In a nation where racism is a pervasive fact of life– 28 percent of all Black men will spend time in jail at some point in their lives and institutionalized lynching persists in the police killings of Black youths–more police power doesn’t make anyone safer. It only reinforces and strengthens the a racist and repressive environment.
Join us on Tuesday for a speakout and press conference. We will rally at Union Square, a transportation hub where activists have already filmed cops carrying automatic rifles and accompanied by attack dogs. Representatives from unions, community, antiwar, and civil rights organizations will join to denounce this new campaign of illegal searches and to begin a campaign to roll back the NYPD’s continued assaults on civil liberties.
**In addition to joining us for this important rally, we call on videographers and photographers to document these illegal searches and send the footage to us to help expose thee NYPD. Send footage to firstname.lastname@example.org.