NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly ‘Wanted to Instill Fear’ in Black and Latino Men

The testimony of a New York state senator in landmark trial reveals the commissioner's stop-and-frisk intentions.

By Jorge Rivas Apr 03, 2013

State Sen. Eric Adams, a retired NYPD captain, took the stand Monday in the landmark stop-and-frisk federal trial to testify about a 2010 conversation with NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. During his testimony at the Floyd vs. City of New York trial, Adams said Kelly purposely targeted black and Latino to men to ensure they knew were being watched "every time that they left their homes."

Ryan Devereaux reported for the Guardian:

Adams had traveled to Albany for a meeting on 10 July 2010 with the governor to give his support for a bill that would prohibit the NYPD from maintaining a database that would include the personal information of individuals stopped by the police but released without a charge or summons. In discussing the bill, which ultimately passed, Adams said he raised the issue of police stops disproportionately targeting young African American and Latino men.

"[Kelly] stated that he targeted and focused on that group because he wanted to instil fear in them that every time that they left their homes they could be targeted by police," Adams testified.

"How else would we get rid of guns," Adams said Kelly asked him.

Adams told the court he was stunned by the commissioner’s claim and immediately expressed his concerns. "I was amazed," Adams testified. "I told him that was illegal."

In the last 11-years, the NYPD has conducted a staggering 5-million stop-and-frisks. Of those who were stopped and patted down for "seeming suspicious," 86 percent were black or Latino, according to an analysis by the New York Civil Liberties Union released last month. In 2012 alone, police made 533,042 of these stops with 89 percent resulting in no arrest or ticket.

An August 2012 New York Times poll found opinions about stop-and-frisk are divided by race. Fifty-five percent of white New Yorkers described the use of stop-and-frisk as acceptable; 56 percent of blacks called it excessive. Among Latinos, 48 percent said it was acceptable, and 44 percent said it was excessive.

Colorlines.com caught up with David Floyd, the 33-year-old lead plaintiff in the stop-and-frisk case, and asked what he felt when he was randomly searched and why he decided to challenge the NYPD.

Take a look at the video below.