Only two DC Councilmembers attend Stop and Frisk hearing

On the 27th of October, DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier appeared before the city countil to testify about the use of "stop and frisk" tactics by DC Police. This is an admission that Stop and Frisk exists in this town. Unfortunately, only two DC City Councilmembers bothered to attend, leading one witness to remark when a white witness was testifying that this amounted only to "three white people having a conversation."

The Washington Post reported some ugly details about Stop and Frisk in DC back on Oct 7, including an explicit complaint from the head of the police union about citizens videoing cops forcing them to back off from some of their worst aggressive tactics.The story centers on an innocent 64 year old fix-it man stopped by police after an unrelated burglary nearly a mile away, whom police only reluctantly let go after a local resident intervened against them.

An attendee at this hearing from which so many council members were absent reports that the local resident who intervened against the police in that particular stop and frisk incident was to be the first to testify

For her part police chief Cathy Lanier claimed that many of the complaints are about other agencies. In parts of town infested with US Park Police and DHS this is probably true, but the constant harassment of African-Americans in NE and SE DC is usually the work of MPD. I've witnessed plenty of it myself, and usually DC police are the offenders in a "real street, real night" Stop and Frisk, simply because the other agencies are more likely to be downtown or in areas containing parks. The US Park Police are of course notorious for brutality, but even on U st NW, much less W st SW, they are not the cops usually on patrol. The Stop and Frisk complaints directed to the Council were specifically about MPD. My guess is that Park Police and DHS are more likely to harass people less intimidated about walking into a police station to file a complaint than MPD is. We know there is a problem when there is a national discussion about things like "innocent flight," where police end up chasing people who have not committed a crime but have learned to avoid police anyway upon learning they are dangerous and not to be trusted.

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