“It happens all the time,” said a rather unfazed young black man after two cops briefly detained him and searched his pockets and backpack on Friday night. A little after 9:30pm, he was walking along Broadway on the Bushwick-Williamsburg border with about a dozen friends and had just rounded the corner onto Graham Avenue when officers ordered him out of the crowd. They were told to keep walking, he was told to get up against the wall.
According to the latest figures obtained by the NYCLU, the NYPD made an unprecedented amount of these stop and frisks in 2011, with 684,330 people subjected to the controversial tactic. I immediately started recording the incident on an iPhone.
First they started rifling through his pants pockets and asking him what he was doing in the neighborhood. Then they took out a flashlight and began looking in his bag, where the only thing they found was some job applications.
After filming for a few moments and seeing this wasn’t going to lead to an arrest, I moved down the block to snap a photo. “What are you recording?” said the police officer to me. The “stop and frisk,” I replied. Moments later, they let the 21-year-old go. Similar to the record shattering amount of pat-downs, this had all the similar traits: This particular subject was black, male, and innocent.