On Aug. 12, 2013, a federal court in New York found that the NYPD’s use of the stop-and-frisk practice was unconstitutional racial profiling. Almost one year to the day later, police gunned down Michael Brown — an 18-year-old, unarmed black man — during a street stop in Missouri. Don’t miss the connection, or the cycle of government violence against black Americans might never end.
Michael Brown’s death at the hands of police comes at a time when black people in Missouri have faced increased targeting by the police. The editorial board of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported last week that black drivers in Missouri were 66 percent more likely than whites to be stopped by the police in 2013 — a dramatic increase from 2000, when black people were only 30 percent more likely to be stopped. Black and Latino people were also more likely than whites to be searched.
I was a senior attorney on Floyd v. the City of New York, the class action that proved the NYPD purposefully targeted its stop-and-frisk practice at blacks and Latinos based on their race. And these numbers sound awfully familiar to me.