Originally appeared in Windsor Terrace-Kensington Patch
Clarke sends letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking the Department of Justice to protect New Yorkers' constitutional rights.
By: Caitlin Nolan
Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, D-Ditmas Park, has called on Attorney General Eric Holder to protect the constitutional rights of New Yorkers and intervene in the practice of stop-and-frisk, according to statement released Monday by the Congresswoman.
Clarke, along with dozens of her colleagues, sent a letter to Holder during the week of Aug. 6 asking the Department of Justice to intervene in Floyd, et al. v. City of New York, a federal class action lawsuit filed against the NYPD and the City of New York that challenges the NYPD's practices of racial profiling and stop-and frisks.
The letter also asked Holder to intervene in Hassan et al. v. City of New York, a suit that seeks to end the NYPD's alleged spying and profiling of Muslim Americans in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. It also calls for the NYPD to destroy all records of information obtained through the program.
"In the previous decade, of the more than 3.8 million innocent people who have been detained by the police, almost ninety percent were African-American or Latino," the release noted.
"In addition, the Police Department has conducted investigations of hundreds of mosques, and dozens of Islamic schools, Muslim student organizations, non-profit organizations, 'persons of interest' and "ethnic hotspots,'" it continued.
“Our Constitution establishes that individuals are presumed innocent,” said Clarke. “The practice of conducting searches of young African-American and Latino men on the sidewalk, and the warrantless surveillance of Muslims gathered for study in schools and prayer in mosques, undermines our civil society’s moral commitment to the personal privacy and dignity of each person.”
She noted that people cannot remain indifferent as the constitutional and common law rights of New Yorkers are violated, saying elected officials and their appointees need to provide answers for these practices. "We need the federal government to become involved on behalf of the people of New York," she said.
“After weeks of gun violence in our city, some have justified the use of stop and frisk, a policy which has only created fear within our neighborhoods and increased tensions between our community and the police," Clarke said. "It is important to note that if we do not address stop and frisk, immediately and effectively, this policy can have national implications.”