Rockaway Youth Task Force Prez Joins Mayor In Brainstorming Session
One of Rockaway’s leading youth advocates joined in a brainstorming session at Gracie Mansion as Mayor Bloomberg sought alternatives to the often criticized ‘stop and frisk’ as a means to continue the downturn in crime in the city.
Milan Taylor, the president and founder of the Rockaway Youth Task Force, was among those who attended the meeting.
“Mayor Bloomberg was looking for alternatives to decrease crime, but I felt the meeting had no real focus,” said Taylor about the April 4 forum.
Stop and frisk is hailed as one of the main reasons for the decrease in crime and the removal of guns from the streets, yet police are often criticized for taking liberties with the law. Last week the Mayor invited community activists, clergy and other city residents to help him find other ways to fight crime.
Taylor said he spoke about his own experiences being stopped by police.
“I gave personal accounts for myself and of others and how we felt afterwards,” said Taylor, who used the word subhuman to describe the feeling. “But the mayor kept giving statistics [that it worked and crime was down].”
Taylor believes the issue comes down to a choice between a person’s rights or lowering the crime rate.
“The mayor is going to have to weigh it for himself,” Taylor said. He added the mayor did admit there were problems with stop and frisk, but “He doesn’t seem to want to change his stance until an alternative is found.”
While Taylor did not believe it was his place to tell the mayor what to do, he does have an opinion on the matter.
“Young people, everyday, are thinking about being stopped when they leave the house,” said Taylor. “They shouldn’t have to be.”
Besides fearing the police, Taylor said there is no real relationship between the young people on the peninsula and the police.
“Many cops don’t go out of their way to get to know young people in the community,” explained Taylor.
He also feels young people need to know their rights when it comes to the issue of stop and frisk. “We wouldn’t have so many stop and frisks going wrong [or abused],” said Taylor.
“There’s no one solution,” said Taylor. “It’s has to be a combination of things.”