Al Jazeera America has a fascinating profile on Jose LaSalle, a parks worker who has made it his personal mission to ensure New York City cops aren’t overstepping their bounds when it comes to stop-and-frisk. Nightly, LaSalle patrols the streets of Harlem, Brownsville, or the Bronx with his camera, looking for cops stopping and frisking teenagers and recording as many incidents as he can.
Two years ago, LaSalle’s stepson Alvin recorded two cops who stopped him, and, among other things, told him he was “a fucking mutt” and that they would “break [his] fucking arm.” Last year, thanks to a short documentary by the Nation, that recording went viral.
LaSalle has been out on patrol nearly every day since then, occasionally with other volunteers but often on his own. He says the federal ruling against stop-and-frisk hasn’t changed much yet, but he has hope for the prospect of police wearing lapel cameras, which was included in the decision.
“If the kids don’t feel they can trust the police, they will be easy targets for drug dealers and criminal gangs. I don’t want that life for anyone,” says LaSalle, who did 12 years in prison in his youth. “I hope to be at least one person in the street that they can trust, and that keeps me going.”
Read the full profile here.