2011-11-04 / Editorial/Opinion

A Matter Of Competing Rights

Donovan Richards has joined the Rockaway Youth Task Force in hosting an “Occupy the Hood” event at the Ocean Bay Community Center. That is a worthy event, and the group will discuss some vital topics: violence, drugs, unemployment, teenage pregnancy and harassment by police. Richards, who works for City Councilman James Sanders Jr. and plans to run for his seat once he becomes term-limited, has protested police harassment previously. The last march came right after a spate of shootings in which a number of black teens were killed and others were wounded. The term “police harassment” in Far Rockaway is a code for two things: the stop and frisk policy of the police department and the NYCHA policy of arresting visitors to city housing projects for “trespassing” when the police believe those visitors are up to no good. We can understand that people have a right to visit their friends and that people have a right to walk the streets of this city without harassment. We also understand that the majority of those trespassing arrests are made on known drug dealers and gang members who can make living in a NYCHA building something of a living nightmare. And, we understand that the stop and frisk policy takes guns off the street and saves lives – most of those lives are of young black teenagers. Do people have the right to walk the streets without harassment? Of course. Do cops have the right and the duty to take guns off the street, to check if they believe that somebody is carrying a concealed weapon? Of course. Richards can occupy the hood all he wants. His hood will not be safe until black politicians convince black teens that guns are not the answer. And, until cops are given the wherewithal to do their jobs and take guns off the street.

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You miss a point. If innocent

You miss a point. If innocent youths are stopped and harrashed, that is one less see something. Report it

What do you mean? The

What do you mean? The editorial makes sense; thought the balance between guaranteed constitutional rights and unlawful search and seizure do not comport with reality.

Do you read the news? Who are shooting themselves? Where are innocent lives taken? In what community does this sort of gun violence strike time-and-time again? If you don't know the answer then you just have not been paying attention.

Still, in a free society, rights must be respected for all citizens. The "see something. Report it" obviously doesn't happen NOW. The volume of crime is on the uptick. So, what can be done?

I remember when Rudy became Mayor. Prior to his being in office, the gun violence and related death count amongst African Americans beat Beirut. It actually did. Rudy's police chief (Bratton) went after the "quality of life" crimes, with the idea that criminals who do small crimes, also do big ones. In half a year (perhaps less) the crime rate dropped precipitously. The 1800 dead minorities from the Dinkins days were shaved down in number to less than 300. Still, African-Americans in the city disliked Rudy greatly.

What is wrong with this picture? The answer to solving this is likely similar to Bratton's. If you want violent crime to go down, you've got to nab violent criminals. Random frisking is wrong, but any infraction, even a minor one, should be met with--at the very least--a pat-down and a run of priors.

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