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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August,2 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 31
LGBT groups challenge 'stop-and-frisk' - Coalition says NYC policy unfairly targets marginalized communities
Section One
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LGBT groups challenge 'stop-and-frisk' - Coalition says NYC policy unfairly targets marginalized communities

by Mike Andrew SGN Staff Writer

A coalition of 34 LGBT rights groups is challenging New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg over his city's so-called 'stop-and-frisk' policy.

The controversial practice, based on the city's interpretation of a state statute, allows police officers to stop and search any person the officers think may have committed a crime or are about to commit a crime, even in the absence of 'probable cause' to make an arrest. Critics have charged that this policy unfairly impacts the city's communities of color and amounts to legalized racial profiling.

On July 24 Bloomberg vetoed two ordinances passed by the New York City Council to limit abuses of the stop-and-frisk policy.

One measure would have created an independent inspector general to monitor the New York City Police Department. The other would have expanded the definition of racial profiling and allowed people who believed they were profiled to sue police in state court.

The 34 LGBT organizations charged that the city's policy has had an adverse impact on LGBT people of color, and they demanded the City Council override Bloomberg's veto.

'Today, national and international LGBT organizations - including the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Lambda Legal, the National Black Justice Coalition, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and GLAAD - joined with local LGBTQ organizations to urge New York City legislators to defend historic legislation banning discriminatory police profiling against a veto by Mayor Michael Bloomberg,' the groups said in a statement.

TRANS PEOPLE TARGETED
'[F]rom Stonewall to stop-and-frisk, LGBTQ people - and particularly LGBTQ people of color, LGBTQ youth, and Transgender and gender-nonconforming people - have long been targets of profiling and other forms of discriminatory policing,' the statement continued. 'The consequences have ranged from death to deportation, assault to arrest, homophobic harassment to humiliation.'

The coalition calls on legislators to 'continue to stand firm with LGBTQ people and communities of color, and to vote against efforts to veto this landmark legislation and turn back the clock on this victory. The safety of LGBTQ New Yorkers depends on it.'

'We know all too well the impact that police profiling has on marginalized communities. LGBT people - especially Transgender people and LGBT people of color - are unjustly targeted by law enforcement for harassment and policing at unbelievably high rates,' said Darlene Nipper, deputy executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. She said her group 'applauds the New York City Council for passing this historic law and urges all council members to stand up for equality and vote to override Mayor Bloomberg's veto.'

According to New York City police statistics, some 684,000 people were stopped under the policy in 2011, with the overwhelming majority being African American or Latino. Only one in eight, however, were subsequently charged with a crime.

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