An anti-stop-and-frisk rally. Source: Think Progress
In the domain of the 61st Precinct, the controversial “Stop-and-Frisk” police tactic is targeting the same people over and over, rarely leading to arrests. The New York Daily News is reporting that in Sheepshead Bay, police have been using the measure against people with lengthy rap sheets, even if they haven’t been in trouble in years.
In an extensive analysis of NYPD data, the Daily News discovered that the 61st Precinct, which encompasses Sheepshead Bay, has one of the worst track records when it comes to stop-and-frisk:
The News identified the city’s most-frisked residents using data from 2011 to 2012, grouping stops listing the exact same birthdate, sex, race, height, weight and precinct.
Eight of the top 10 likely individuals were in the 61st Precinct, which ranked 33rd in overall number of stops. The individuals were stopped between 13 and 26 times over a two-year period, without a single arrest or summons among them.
Sheepshead residents repeatedly targeted by the NYPD include 52-year-old Mitch Schwartz, a man stopped 12 times in 2012 without ever having been arrested or given a ticket.
Schwartz, who is a recovering crack addict, has grown exasperated by what he describes as “harassment.”
“I’m never worried when they stop me because I have nothing to hide, but it is embarrassing. It’s a form of harassment,” Schwartz told the Daily News. “It’s humiliating. My mom owns a store in the neighborhood. Everybody knows me.”
The irony, in the case of Schwartz, is that he and his mother, Marlene Schwartz, owner of Jo-Lene Dolls (1324 Gravesend Neck Road), both support the stop-and-frisk tactic, believing it will help rid the street of guns.
“I do support stop and frisk, so I don’t complain,” Schwartz said.
The police captain of the 61st Precinct, John Chell, defended the repeat use of the tactic to the reporter during a recent 61st Precinct Community Council meeting.
“We know who our bad guys are. We by no means just pick people out. There’s a criteria that’s got to be followed,” Captain Chell told the Daily News.
Here’s the exchange between the Daily News reporter and Chell, which we captured at the June 12 meeting (sorry for the bad audio on the reporter, but Chell’s response can be clearly heard):
Another frequent target of 61st Precinct stop-and-frisks is Jon Malan. The 34-year-old was stopped 11 times in the past two years without a single arrest or ticket. The targeting of Malan, who has been arrested multiple times, highlights the complexity of the tactic:
A police source said Milan, who is Hispanic, has been arrested 31 times. Milan says only four of those arrests — for drug possession more than a decade ago — were legitimate.
More recent busts including arrest for carrying a gun-shaped cigarette lighter — and a Swiss Army knife, he claims.
The harassment that Malan endured eventually forced him to leave the area for good, vacating to Stratford, Connecticut.