Organizing – Fair Policing

October 10th, 2013

About our work to ensure fair policing that adheres to the United States Constitution

The Brotherhood/Sister Sol (Bro/Sis) has been centrally involved in reducing youth violence, confronting the plague of male committed violence, and also organizing to reform a deeply unjust criminal justice system and reform unconstitutional and race based policing practices. With regards to confronting police practices, Bro/Sis was one of the leading groups organizing to reform the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) “Stop and Frisk” policy and to respond to the deeply problematic “broken windows” approach to policing.

Nearly ten million stops occurred in New York City over the last 12 years – 84% of whom were Black or Latino. Of those stopped, only 6% were arrested, less than 2% were in possession of some form of contraband, and less than .1% had a gun – yet the NYPD is supposed to have “reasonable” suspicion before stopping and frisking an individual. The New York State Attorney General has issued a report that has found that only .1% of stops have resulted in convictions of possession of a gun and only 1.5% in any conviction at all. 90% were completely innocent. This is a policy that only is enforced in some neighborhood – and only on some citizens.

We have members who have been stopped and frisked between 5 and 30 times. All of the male staff of our organization have been stopped and frisked. The vast majority of our male membership, and some of our female membership, have experienced being stopped and frisked. We have members who have experienced this interaction with the police when walking down the street, standing in front of their buildings, walking down the hallways in public housing, working out in the park, riding the trains, going to the store, and often when walking to high school. We believe our central role in the effort is to put front and center the voices of young people who have had the experience of being “stopped and frisked”

Our members and staff have been leading voices in the organizing effort to ensure fair policing, have been named witnesses in litigation, have testified in front of legislative bodies, and have created documentaries. Nicholas Peart, our alumni member, wrote the definitive first person statement on the issue, an Op Ed in the New York Times, “Why is the NYPD After Me?” He, other members and staff and our Executive Director Khary Lazarre-White, have been interviewed on MSNBC, CNN, CBS National News, Fox Latino, WABC, WPIX, NY1, WBAI, Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now, in The New York Times, and many more media US based outlets, as well as on British, Japanese and Brazilian television. Representatives from the organization have appeared over 50 times on television to discuss the issue. Khary Lazarre-White has written and spoken extensively on the issue and has been a leading commentator on television regarding police reform that do not violate the United States Constitution.

In response to wide spread organizing efforts, Mayor de Blasio dropped the appeal in Floyd and reformed the widespread policy of “Stop and Frisk;” the New York City Council put into place oversight of the NYPD via an Inspector General and strengthen remedies if the NYPD racially profiles; and a Federal Judge found that the NYPD’s practice violated the United States Constitution and mandated oversight of the NYPD. Mayor de Blasio has cited Nicholas Peart as a critical voice that influenced his position.

In 2011 there were over 685,000 stop. In 2014 there will be less than 50,000 stops. The NYPD has reformed its efforts to adhere to the United States Constitution. Crime in 2014 is at an all time low. Robberies are down another 14%; NYC will set a new record for the fewest number of homicides; and overall crime is down 3%. – http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/03/nyregion/violent-crime-in-new-york-has-dropped-to-historic-low-mayor-de-blasio-says.html?ref=nyregion

We will continue to work and organize to decrease violence in our community and provide opportunities for our young people. We will also continue to work and organize to ensure fair policing that adheres to the Constitution, to reform the unjust criminal justice system, to end “broken windows” policing, and to protest against state violence.

Here are their stories:

Short Documentaries

Talk About The Talk, A PSA partnership produced by Saatchi & Saatchi.

We Are Together, Bro/Sis alumni, The Peace Poets

One City – Fair Policing, A film by Jemaray Pyatt, Produced by The Brotherhood/Sister Sol.

Broken Windows Policing – A Broken Policy A film from Bro/Sis alumni Jemaray Pyatt.

My Liberation is your Liberation, a film on our community activist training program by BHSS Alumnus Frank Lopez, Produced by The Brotherhood/Sister Sol

Gateway: Marijuana & Mass Incarceration, A film on the racially disparate enforcement of marijuana laws by Frank Lopez, Produced by The Brotherhood/Sister Sol.

Making of an Activist, a film about Nicholas Peart by Frank Lopez, Produced by The Brotherhood/Sister Sol

My Brother’s Keeper, by Frank Lopez, Produced by The Brotherhood/Sister Sol

Stigma (created by The Yale Law School)

El Puente (in collaboration with The Game Changer’s Project) by Frank Lopez

Walk With Me (in collaboration with The Game Changer’s Project), by Frank Lopez

Disparate enforcement of Marijuana laws in NYS (in collaboration with The Game Changer’s Project) by BHSS Alumnus Jemaray Pyatt

Media Appearances related to this issue can be seen here:

BHSS alumni member Frank Lopez on Fox Latino.

BHSS Alumni member Nicholas Peart appears on Al Sharpton’s show Politics Nation to discuss Stop & Frisk. (Nick speaking at 9min mark)

BHSS Alumnus member Nicholas Peart appears on PBS NEWSHOUR show to discuss Stop & Frisk.

ED Khary Lazarre-White and BHSS alumnus Nicholas Peart appear on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell to discuss the Federal court finding that the NYPD’s Stop and Frisk program is unconstitutional.

Read article from Nicholas Peart and Khary Lazarre-White interviewed regarding Stop and Frisk policy on NBC’s Grio.com

Read article from The New York Times of BHSS alumni Nicholas Peart speaking out against Stop & Frisk.

Watch BHSS members on Yale Law School Visual Project.

Read article from The New York Times of BHSS alumni Crystal Pope speaking out against Stop & Frisk.

Watch a Game Changers video created by BHSS alumni Jemaray Pyatt on disparate enforcement of marijuana laws in NYS

Read article from The Daily News of BHSS alumni Nicholas Peart speaking out against Stop & Frisk.

Read article from New York 1 of BHSS alumni Nicholas Peart speaking out against Stop & Frisk.

Watch BHSS alumni member Nicholas Peart on national CBS News with Scott Pelley.

Watch The Peace Poets Speaking Out Against Being Stopped & Frisked