Mayor James F. Kenney made a promise to Black Voters and broke that very promise within weeks of taking office.
Kenney stated, “my position on stop-and-frisk hasn’t changed.”
But it has changed.
And Kenney didn’t stop there. He suggested the name of stop-and-frisk and said that wasn’t the actual problem as it was “unfortunate terminology.” His play on words is simply playing with black and brown lives.
Many whites and middle class people of color are unaware of the life curtailing effects and great number of stop-and-frisk. Most people of affluence don’t know because stop-and-frisk focuses on poor neighborhoods of color. In fact, almost 90 percent of those frisked were black or brown.
The streets of Philadelphia are still ringing with the silence of Kenney’s promise, “If I’m mayor, stop-and-frisk will end in Philadelphia, no question.” In case black voters doubted his sincerity, he followed up by explaining that “83 percent of the time, stop-and-frisk does not result in an arrest or recovery of a weapon.”
In an attempt to mitigate the pressure of being squeezed between the Fraternal Order of Police, who prefer stop-and-frisk and his pledge to black voters who helped put him in office he chose to break that very pledge only weeks after being in office.
Yet, John McNesby, leader of the FOP is famed for his chest pounding support of stop-and-frisk.
McNesby recently said, “Everybody is making a big deal out of stop-and-frisk.” “You’re allowed to stop-and-frisk under a Supreme Court ruling,”
We must be reminded by history, just because it may be the law doesn’t make it right.
As in 2009, over a quarter of a million stops were made by the Philly PD rivaling NYC’s numbers with a fraction of them claiming “reasonable suspicion.”
With the risk of violating a large percentage of people’s constitutional rights- still In 2014 a minor decrease was reported at 200,000 stops, with only 47 percent based on “reasonable suspicion.”
At the My Brother Keepers event just months ago, I listened to Kenney make this promise to a room full of hopeful young students of color at the Philadelphia Community College. He promised a robust end the stop-and-frisk. Kenney was applauded with vigor as many attendees expressed their fear of feeling hunted in Philly streets by police. Kenney claimed to agree that people of color are unproportuntaely targeted by the PPD and as a result has fractured relations between the PPD and local communities of color. With a straight back, Kenney once again promised to end the era of stop and frisk to usher Philadelhia into an era of equality.
Kenney’s broken promise will certainly lead to the infringement of more Philadelphian’s constitutional rights and more lives being sacrificed to the private prison industrial complex. In this flammable time of fueled racial tensions and civil rights violations targeting people of color as reflections of fascism and plutocracy mine the despair of a lost middle class, we can’t afford to be silent on this in our own back yard.