Kasiem Just Wants to Move Freely without Fear

Kasiem’s first stop-and-frisk happened when he was thirteen and on his way to school.

“You want to end up in jail?” the police asked the frightened teen, as they searched his pockets.

Since then, the Brooklyn teen has endured seven more of these episodes.

Released today, Kasiem’s story is the first of four short documentaries in the Where I Am Going series, launched by Communities United for Police Reform. Each tells how an ordinary New Yorker—Kasiem, a police officer, a mother, and a clergyman—has been affected by the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy.

For Kasiem and his friends, stop-and-frisk has become part of life, interrupting routine activities like leaving the supermarket or returning from football practice. They live in constant fear of being harassed by the police.

They aren’t alone. From 2002 to 2012 the number of stops of New Yorkers grew sevenfold, from under 100,000 to over 685,000. In 2012, the number dropped to 532,911 after an organized community response to unconstitutional stops.

And the searches’ racial element is just as striking as their volume: In 2012, 87 percent of the New Yorkers stopped were black and Latino.

This is not an effective crime fighting policy. It does very little to get guns off the street. In fact, the rate of gun seizure is miniscule—only 0.15 percent, which is lower than the rate of gun seizures at random checkpoints. There is no credible study demonstrating that stop-and-frisk has played a meaningful role in stopping crime, and the practice nets few criminals.

Only six percent of stops result in arrests, and another six percent result in summonses. Most of these arrests are not for violent crimes, but for “quality-of-life” offenses like public drinking and riding bicyles on the sidewalk. The majority of individuals are not stopped because they fit the descriptions of violent crime suspects but for vague reasons like “furtive movement.”

As President Obama noted in his recent speech addressing the tragic death of Trayvon Martin, our society needs to confront its implicit bias against black men and boys. We hope Where I Am Going will raise awareness about the impact of stop-and-frisk and racial profiling, and spark frank discussions about race, policing, and community safety.  

You can help: Sharing stories like Kasiem’s is the first step in helping end the dangerous, ineffective practice of stop-and-frisk.

19 Comments

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This is very sad. The world, and in particular AMERICA needs to know that all men were created equal and stop harassing people of colour.

This is very sad, for everyone. Any "-ism", including racism is a disgusting habit. And, to think that Police of all people engage in such activities...

Sam

Kasiem, thanks for sharing your experience. Your story made me angry and sad. The police would do well to create allies, like you say, rather than enemies and people who fear them. That is no way to police. I hope and pray that things get better.

Why do people still engage in racist tendencies in the 21st century? and god forbid against children?

What is needed is a frank society-wide talk

1- Investments in black community especially in education
2- Investments in infrastructures
3- Diversification of race in policing system
White dominated policing (including Latinos) system will never be helpful to the Black American community. It will continue to multiply the prejudice
4- White male police should not be allowed to work in black community at all;

Women police seem more cautious since you don't see much prejudice done by white women police;

You should stop calling yourself African-American, since white people don't call themselves European American. that is a fundamental issues. you are giving them idea that you are an immigrant from Africa which you are not.

Great job! Thanks for creating these short videos.

I wanted to share my appreciation for Kasiem's bravery to share his story and for all who helped to bring these stories to the world

Thank you Kasiem ~ for sharing so eloquently! We have to continue to shine a light on this policy if it is ever going to end.

So much for liberty and justice for all! This is a wake-up call for white folks, who are rarely if ever subjected to this kind of mistreatment, and which is never reported on in the mainstream media. The police seem to function almost like a paramilitary operation that is immune from sanction, and officers have no right to violate human rights, maim and kill both innocent people and those suspected of crimes (see Choke Hold and Taser incidents). White people's racism is the problem, but we need to be part of the solution too, and we can start by asking the media to cover and investigate this issue, to take responsibility for addressing their own covert racism in reporting crime incidents, insisting that police training include education about racial profiling and racism, that department policies be changed to ellminate this practice, and that community oversight committees and human rights organizations be involved in policing the police to change this behavior, with negative sanctions a justifiable approach. Imagine if the Southern Poverty Law Center initiated a class action lawsuit for young people of color whose civil rights have been violated by stop-and-frisk! This kind of harrassment NEEDS TO STOP!

This is sad and incredible.If such a violation can not happen in a country like Uganda, how come it is common in USA- a country we have hope on to be exemplary in the guarding and protection of human rights. The police in USA should be reformed and the personnel sensitized to treat the races equally whether black or white. The USA people must also with one voice condemn such acts and call for punishment of the police Officers who habitually perpetrate such acts against the Blacks and Latinos in the USA.

Muy triste.

Thank you so much Kasiem for your sincere concern for your community. I am fully supportive of your right to feel respected in your own and every neighborhood in New York. I lived there for two years in Spanish Harlem and gave been countless times to work at Flatbush Brooklyn social services as an interpreter with immigrants. I understand you and hope we can find a way to make the police understand their duty to protect rather than harass citizens of a certain profile. I want you to know that I have Saud those same words to a police officer who stopped me once demanding to see my ID for speaking to a homeless man however this was not in New York it was in my home country in New York. Police ethics seem to be viral worldwide age we r working on changing it. In Egypt the police are afraid to be on the streets. They must change because we flipped the coin on them. They are afraid of citizens at times. We want to work on a healthy relationship to respect and protect all of us.

I am a mother and I have had my sons stop & frisk and even arrested for sitting on a stoop, my eldest at the age of 18 was arrested for not having an ID on him in the compound where he lived and was identified by my sister as her nephew and that he lived in one of the apartments in the housing complex.The police needs to stop wasting tax payers money and do some serious crime stopping. I can go on but you get the point.

It is not just "white folks" who can be racist, but everyone on the planet. It is the unattractive side of human nature. In this case, the victims are innocent blacks in the USA. The police should certainly be trained to be better citizens themselves, and more aware of their own tendencies towards bigotry and racsim.

But in America, there is such a strong culture of conforming. I was there with my white British husband, who loved to walk everywhere, as he was used to doing back in England.
In Califronia he was stopped by police because the sight of a young man, walking in the suburbs, where there is often not even a pavement (sidewalk) was so unusual and clearly suspicious, they felt they had to interrogate him to see "what he was up to".
Fear and conformism are such a strong feature of the USA an is one of the reasons I am glad to be living elsewhere.

It isn't about individual racism. It is about institutional policies that trample the civil rights of people, including US citizens, based on racial/ethnic profiling. We live in a police state across the U.S. and our rights are being disregarded on a national level. This is institutional within local, state, and federal law enforcement.

On cross-country drives across the US, brother (we are from South America of Indian decent) is stopped every single time in the state of Oklahoma by unmarked vehicles and officers who do not give their names. His vehicle is searched and he is then given a "warning" on some minor traffic issue that is trumped up as the reason for the stop (i.e. 10 second lane change rule).

Who can you turn to about this? He doesn't live in that state, but he has to drive through it to get home. Do we live in a police state where we can't travel out of our local community or state?

It is sickening that this happens to him every time. And none of the civil liberties groups he has spoken to can help because they fear to tangle with "homeland security."

Welcome to the police state of America.

What's so unfortunate is that such episodes only reinforce mistrust in all the establishments that have already failed these youth.

if i had my way...
Every Cop Must Be_____ Before or to Stay A Cop
-Taser
_Pepper Sprayed
_ stun guns
_hand cuffed very tightly sitting in patrol car for 1/2 hr
_set up for guns to be drawn and pointed at them, helplessly

Mandatory counseling

STOP AND FRISK EAST AND WEST OF 96 TO 69 STREETS EAST AND WEST USING THE SAME MEASURE USED UPTOWN AND OTHER NEIGHBORHOODS WHERE ONLY PEOPLE OF COLOR ARE BULLIED BY COPS...... just a thought...

Maybe if New York wasn't so liberal, then things would be better.

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