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A Call for Smart and Safe Policing Strategies and an End to Racially Disparate Stop and Frisk Policing by Law Enforcement

WHEREAS, in its new report Misplaced Priorities: Over Incarcerate, Under Educate, the NAACP defines the war on drugs as largely responsible for mass incarceration in the U.S. and calls for implementation of smart and safe criminal justice policies; and

WHEREAS, under the United States' mass incarceration and the war on drugs, we imprisoned African American men at the rate of 4,919 per one hundred­ thousand population in 2008. South Africa's 1993 Apartheid Government by comparison imprisoned 851 Black African men per hundred-thousand; and

WHEREAS, in many US cities African Americans are arrested for drug possession at five, seven and up to ten times the rate of whites even though the drug use among whites is higher than blacks; and

WHEREAS, federal, state, and local costs of the war on drugs exceeds $40 billion annually; and

WHEREAS, stop-and frisk-policing - a practice where law enforcement officials stop and pat down individuals based solely on suspicion, in hopes of finding illegal contraband - has become commonplace as a result of the war on drugs; and

WHEREAS, for example in New York City, there were a record 580,000 stop­ and-frisks in 2009. Most of those stopped (55 percent) were black (a large portion were also Hispanic), many were young and almost all were male. According to the Census Bureau, there were only 300,000 black men between the ages of 13 and 34 living in the city that year. A mere 6 percent of the stops resulted in arrests. And, in one eight-block area of an overwhelmingly black neighborhood in Brooklyn, the police made 52,000 stops in just four years, an average of nearly one stop for each resident each year; and

WHEREAS, easily accessible criminal records become a stigma, a modern "scarlet letter" which constitutes a substantial obstacle to employment, education, and full participation in American society; any criminal record, even just for arrest, consign the young people of color who are targeted by drug war policing to a second class citizenship and an insidious modern form of Jim Crow.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP reaffirms the following previous resolutions against police misconduct:

  • 1978 - Prosecution of Police and Correction Officers for Criminal Acts
  • 1978 - Police Brutality
  • 1979 - Police Brutality
  • 1980 - Indiscriminate Use of Firearms by Police
  • 1983 - Use of Chokeholds By Police
  • 1983 - Police Brutality
  • 1987 - Police Brutality
  • 1991 - Police Brutality
  • 1992 - Police Brutality
  • 1996 - Excessive Force by Law Enforcement Officers and Police Departments
  • 2007 - Establish Model Standards, Policies and Training to Prevent Police
  • Misconduct and Excessive Use of Force; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls on all units to advocate for community policing and evidenced based policing practices to combat crime, while putting an end to racially disparate "stop and frisk" policing that often result in longstanding humiliation and stigma of young people throughout America.

Derrick Lewis - Youth & College Hero

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