An NYPD memo that went out to precincts over the weekend sought to clarify for officers what will happen now that new stop-and-frisk regulations are in place. Despite warnings from Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly that the Community Safety Act, which limits cops’ ability to profile based on race and other factors like sexual orientation, was “life-threatening,” the department’s own assessment seems decidedly more level-headed.

The New York Times has an excerpt:

For example, if a victim “describes a crime suspect by race, sex, clothing description and direction of travel, a person who has those physical characteristics and is traveling in the direction described may be the subject of law enforcement action,” the internal memo reads.

“It would be unlawful,” it adds, “to stop or otherwise engage that individual if the deciding factor for doing so was that he/she matched only the race of the person described in the radio run.”

In other words, cops can still use demographic information (such as race) to make arrests, they’re just not supposed be so racist.

Noted Community Safety Act supporter Councilman Brad Lander summed it up well.


(Photo: Max Lib/Flickr)