How can we end the abuse of stop-and-frisk practices? “It’s simple,” says New York City police officer Adhyl Polanco. “Don’t stop the innocent people.”
In a new video for the WhereIAmGoing.org campaign, Polanco talks about what’s wrong with the city’s stop-and-frisk policy.
After joining the force in 2005, Polanco thought it was his dream job. But in 2009, he found himself obligated to stop people who were simply walking home from school or to the store, or just hanging out outside. In one instance, he was ordered to arrest a 13-year-old boy and not ask questions.
“This is not what I became a cop for. This is not what I wanted to do,” he says.
Polanco has even found himself stopped and frisked by other police officers.
After he complained about the unfair implementation, including in a letter to Internal Affairs, he was suspended from the NYPD with pay.
Black and Latino young men should not have to grow up with an expectation that they will be stopped and unjustly harassed because of their race and gender. The discriminatory policy has only created a sense of fear and anger toward police rather than the trust that is needed to build safe communities.
“You should be working with the community,” says Polanco. “You should be gaining community trust. There’s a lot of things that can make the community safer. Stopping and harassing innocent people is not going make the community safer.”
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