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Taibbi writes: "It seems Mike Bloomberg's notorious 'stop-and-frisk' policy - known colloquially in these parts by silently-cheering white voters as the 'Let's have cops feel up any nonwhite person caught walking in the wrong neighborhood' policy - isn't even the most repressive search policy in the NYPD arsenal."

Mayor Bloomberg has come under fire from civil libertarians for powers extended to Ray Kelly and the NYPD. (photo: Viorel Florescu/New York Daily News)
Mayor Bloomberg has come under fire from civil libertarians for powers extended to Ray Kelly and the NYPD. (photo: Viorel Florescu/New York Daily News)



Bloomberg's New York: Cops in Your Hallways

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

05 April 12

 

n amazing lawsuit was filed in New York last week. It seems Mike Bloomberg's notorious "stop-and-frisk" policy - known colloquially in these parts by silently-cheering white voters as the "Let's have cops feel up any nonwhite person caught walking in the wrong neighborhood" policy - isn't even the most repressive search policy in the NYPD arsenal.

Bloomberg, that great crossover Republican, has long been celebrated by the Upper West Side bourgeoisie for his enlightened views on gay rights and the environment, but also targeted for criticism by civil rights activists because of stop-and-frisk, a program that led to a record 684,330 street searches just last year.

Now he's under fire for a program he inherited, which goes by the darkly Bushian name of the "Clean Halls program." In effect since 1991, it allows police to execute so-called "vertical patrols" by going up into private buildings and conducting stop-and-frisk searches in hallways - with the landlord's permission.

According to the NYCLU, which filed the suit, "virtually every private apartment building [in the Bronx] is enrolled in the program," and "in Manhattan alone, there are at least 3,895 Clean Halls Buildings." Referring to the NYPD's own data, the complaint says police conducted 240,000 "vertical patrols" in the year 2003 alone.

If you live in a Clean Halls building, you can't even go out to take out the trash without carrying an ID - and even that might not be enough. If you go out for any reason, there may be police in the hallways, demanding that you explain yourself, and insisting, in brazenly illegal and unconstitutional fashion, on searches of your person.

The easiest way to convey the full insanity of this program is to simply read stories from the complaint. The first account comes from Janean Ligon, a 40 year-old black woman from East 163 St. in the Bronx. She lives with her three sons, J.G., J.A.G., and Jerome, all of whom have been repeatedly stopped and harassed.

According to the suit, Mrs. Ligon in August of last year sent her son J.G. to go to the store to get ketchup. He went to the store, got the ketchup, and started home. Just outside the door to his apartment, he was stopped by four policemen, two in uniform and two in plain clothes. They ask him why he's going into the building. He explains, produces identification, and even shows the police the ketchup in his bag. But that's not enough. After that:

… One officer asked J.G. to identify the apartment in which he lived. J.G. responded, telling the officer his family's apartment number. The officers then rang the bell to Ms. Ligon's apartment. Over the intercom, Ms. Ligon heard a man say that he was a police officer, and he needed her to come down to identify her son.

Terrified that J.G. was injured or dead, Ms. Ligon ran out of the apartment to find out what had happened to J.G. As she approached the lobby she saw J.G. standing just outside the vestibule near the mailboxes, surrounded by four officers. She collapsed and began weeping. One officer began laughing, asked Ms. Ligon if J.G. was her son, and handed her the ketchup.

In another incident, police stopped three friends of a Bronx resident named Alex Lebron as they were leaving his apartment. Lebron's mother saw the teenagers being interviewed in the stairwell, approached the police and told them she knew them and everything was okay. She then went to her apartment and told her son that the cops were talking to his friends. Lebron, according to the suit, then races downstairs "to prevent their arrest." Here's the rest of the story, according to the complaint:

Mr. Lebron encountered his handcuffed friends and the two police officers in the lobby of his building. He told the officers that he lived in the building and that the teens had been visiting him. The officers responded that it was "too late" and placed the three young men in a police van…. The arresting officers took W.B., J.G., and their friend to the 44th Precinct, where they were locked in a cell. After approximately two hours, they were given summonses for trespassing and released. The trespassing charges against W.B., J.G., and their friend were later dismissed.

This is Michael Bloomberg's New York - where, in a stirring homage to the underappreciated Wayans Brothers classic Don't Be a Menace to South Central (While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood), you really can be arrested for "being black on a Friday night." (Okay, the Lebron incident was actually a Wednesday night - June 15 of last year).

Stories like this "Clean Halls" program are beginning to make me see that journalists like myself have undersold the white-collar corruption story in recent years by ignoring its flip side. We have two definitely connected phenomena, often treated as separate and unconnected: a growing lawlessness in the financial sector, and an expanding, repressive, increasingly lunatic police apparatus trained at the poor, and especially the nonwhite poor.

In recent years, as Wall Street firms turned into veritable felony factories, we had pundits and politicians who cranked out reams of excuses for one white-collar criminal after another and argued, in complete seriousness, that sending a rich banker to jail "wouldn't solve anything" and in fact we should "tolerate the excesses" of the productive rich, who "channel opportunity" to the rest of us.

On the other hand, we've had politicians and pundits in budget fights and other controversies railing against the parasitic poor, who are not only not "productive" enough to warrant a break, but assumed to be actively unproductive (they consume our tax money and public services) and therefore sort of guilty in advance.

When I read this "Clean Halls" story I immediately thought of the various robosigning scandals. If even one law enforcement official had been able to take just one stroll through, say, the credit card collections office of a Chase or a Bank of America at any time in the last decade, he would have seen rows of cubicles full of entry-level employees whose entire job was to sit around all day long, right out in the open, forging court documents. Whole departments attended to this job for years and years and somehow nobody with a badge ever got a whiff of it.

But in New York, we have cops cruising through private buildings, checking bags full of ketchup 200,000 times a year. Makes sense, doesn't it?

 

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+53 # ER444 2012-04-05 13:06
Welcome to America, land of the free home of the brave

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

What have we become ?
 
 
+18 # angelfish 2012-04-05 21:16
BQuoting ER444:
Welcome to America, land of the free home of the brave

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

What have we become ?

Be glad you don't live in Michigan. They have a totalitarian Nazi/Fascist Governor who disregards his own laws and prevents Democrats from voting in their own Legislature! We have met the enemy, and he is US! Poor old Pogo didn't know whereof he spoke so many long years ago!
 
 
+6 # AMLLLLL 2012-04-06 05:35
Sadly, we're well on our way to being a fiefdom. The hardly working poor and the bourgoisie riche.
 
 
+1 # wantrealdemocracy 2012-04-06 15:10
and what can we do about it?
 
 
+31 # Olenska 2012-04-05 15:55
NATIONAL PETITION TO PASS THE DUE PROCESS GUARANTEE ACT AND REPEAL THE NDAA

We need one million signatures to sway members of Congress.. It is an election year, so this might do it. Here is the petition. Please circulate it. Many thanks
http://signon.org/sign/pass-the-due-process
 
 
+1 # wantrealdemocracy 2012-04-06 15:12
Give me a break. You think those corrupt creeps in Congress care what a million of us want?? Yeah, right. Want your 'representative ' to pay any attention to you? You better send a pretty big check.
 
 
+7 # cordleycoit 2012-04-05 20:52
It's a New York thing. Well dressed I got to go anywhere. Cops are afraid of rich people. Be Black get ready to hit the wall. Be drunk in a suit ok. Be drunk and ratty your chops are busted. Nothing stops a a corrupt New York cop like a lawyer. But nothing stops a corrupt New York cop when they hit new grift the like messing with people's minds. They are compelled to do dirt.
 
 
+9 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-04-05 21:18
"Kill one man and you are a murderer; kill millions and you are a conqueror"

"Rob one buck (or alternatively, be black - it seems to be enough these days) and you are considered a felon; rob millions and you are a considered period."
 
 
+15 # Barkingcarpet 2012-04-05 21:34
Screw this crap. What have we allowed Amerika to become folks? I am ashamed to be an Amerikan.
 
 
+18 # walt 2012-04-06 04:24
This makes one wonder if Bloomberg has any recollection of Hitler's rise to power in Germany.

Such things are always done in the name of safety and security and come under the nice banner of "We are making things better for everyone."

Americans have been losing freedoms rapidly and need to stand against it all before it's too late. It may already be so.
 
 
+5 # MidwestTom 2012-04-06 06:21
When income inequality reaches the point it has here, people tend to group with their kind, and have only fear of those not their kind. If everyone is poor, with similar moral standards, there is more sympathy. Many, possibly the majority, of whites now believe that virtually all blacks come from single parent homes and are involved in drugs and crime, which in their eyes lowers their view and increases their fear of them. Just watch television shows, the drug dealer is always black, the screaming women whose car is being repossessed os always black. A foreigner watching American television would conclude that all blacks are involved in crime.

Futurists have long predicted that the US will become a very dangerous place for most people, but it also have islands of prosperity with the greatest advances available anywhere. I believe that we may be in the early stages of that predicted separation.
 
 
+7 # wgalison 2012-04-06 07:20
NEW YORK CITY's OWN TRAYVON MARTIN CASE NYPD: COVER UP OF THE MURDER OF A WHISTLEBLOWER

Sunny Sheu, was a mortgage fraud victim who discovered that a NY Supreme Court Judge was complicit in the theft of his house. Sunny was kidnapped by the NYPD and threatened with death if he went to the press.

www.sunnysheu.blogspot.com.

He went to WABC news in New York and to the FBI requesting witness protection. He also made a Youtube video predicting his death

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Tr3QChAy4Y

On July 26th, 2010, Sunny was found bludgeoned to death in an alley on July 26th 2010

Hours after his death, the NYPD illegally removed Sunny's body from the hospital, and sent it to the Medical Examiner for immediate cremation, with a note saying he died of an aneurism "with no criminality".

The M.E. disagreed, ruling that the cause of death "blunt force trauma to the head with skull fractures and brain injuries" and calling for an investigation.

Sunny's body was authorized for cremated by a fraudulent executor with no relation to Mr Sheu, his family or friends.

Two years since his death, there has been no investigation.

The entire case is documented at www.sunnysheu.blogspot.com.
 
 
+3 # paulrevere 2012-04-06 10:25
wgalison...than k you for this complete take on what, as is usual to our American media doped mindset, forgetting atrocities moments after hearing them. I try and pay attention, I remember reading about this up to the point where he got into the FBI perview and then I relaxed...heh, silly little trusting in the law American citizen that I am!!
 
 
+7 # wgalison 2012-04-06 07:22
The following are matters of public record, and any one of these facts is worthy of a story and an investigation.

- NYPD detectives attempted removal of Sunny Sheu's body from the New York Hospital of Queens at 5:00 AM on a Sunday morning, hours after his death, and BEFORE the body was identified by next of kin.

-NYPD detectives "IDENTIFIED" Sheu's body despite never having seen him before and having no legal standing to identify him, and despite their insistance that there was "no criminality"

- NYPD detectives illegally REMOVED Sheu's body later that Sunday, July 27th 2010, and sent it to the M.E. and DID NOT identify themselves to the Medical Examiner as required by law.

- Captain Chris Austin of the 107th pct. falsely told the M.E. in a written memo that the homicide squad of the 197th gad determined "no criminality" when in fact the squad had not even been notified about Sheu's death, and that a "witness" had seen him fall down spontaneously while walking.

- Weeks after the M.E.'s ruling of "Blunt force trauma to the head with skull fractures and Brain injuries" the NYPD continued to insist that Sheu died of an aneurysm, with NO head injury.

- Immediately after Sheu was brought to the ER in a Coma with skull fractures and brain injuries, two NYPD detectives visited Dr. Ahmed, even though there was "mo criminality" according to NYPD
 
 
+7 # jwb110 2012-04-06 09:35
This is a civil disobedience issue. The only people who will fix this are the American citizens. Bel clear on that. We threw over the tyranny of King George the Third of Great Britain and were torn asunder by another George who fancied himself a monarch. If we threw off the yoke of one we can certainly throw off the yoke of the other. We best be willing to fight the good fight.
 
 
+2 # paulrevere 2012-04-06 10:34
I would note to you jwb1 10, that from my experience posting similar sentiments here, prepare to be amazed at how many thumbs down will ensue.
As I stated yesterday...I am just flabbergasted at that type of response, knowing what we know from plain sight.

Prime example of many examples of psychic confusion...'le sser of two evils', 'better than a repub', 'our vote counts', 'continue digging that hole'...doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

Doubt nothing question everything for nothing is simple and little is true.
 
 
0 # wgalison 2012-04-06 10:48
NEW YORK CITY's OWN TRAYVON MARTIN CASE NYPD cover up of murder

Sunny Sheu, was a mortgage fraud victim who discovered that a NY Supreme Court Judge was complicit in the theft of his house. Sunny was kidnapped by the NYPD and threatened with death if he went to the press.

www.sunnysheu.blogspot.com.

He went to WABC news in New York and to the FBI requesting witness protection. He also made a Youtube video predicting his death

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Tr3QChAy4Y

On July 26th, 2010, Sunny was found bludgeoned to death in an alley on July 26th 2010

Hours after his death, the NYPD illegally removed Sunny's body from the hospital, and sent it to the Medical Examiner for immediate cremation, with a note saying he died of an aneurism "with no criminality".

The M.E. disagreed, ruling that the cause of death "blunt force trauma to the head with skull fractures and brain injuries" and calling for an investigation.

Sunny's body was authorized for cremated by a fraudulent executor with no relation to Mr Sheu, his family or friends.

Two years since his death, there has been no investigation.

The entire case is documented at

www.sunnysheu.blogspot.com.
 
 
0 # giraffee2012 2012-04-07 16:21
This is such as sad disgusting situation -- Hopefully NY has term limits and Bloomberg is out after 2012 - but it looks like the corruption is deeper than Bloomy
 
 
+3 # Dave_s Not Here 2012-04-06 13:05
The public at large just doesn't get it yet. When they do it may be too late. Heck, it may already be too late. Let's hope not.
 
 
+4 # DLT888 2012-04-06 13:10
Nazi America. Everything a gov. does to others in a foreign land will eventually be done to their own citizens. Sociopaths are in charge at this moment and they are psychotic. Hitler was severely deranged and other mentally ill people followed him. We have such a case of severe mental and emotional illness in this country running the show.
 
 
+4 # paulrevere 2012-04-06 15:48
aka sociopaths, psychopaths, megalomaniacal power mongers and other motivations for true believers in plutocracy.
The common sense of the American people was, at one time, a seemingly valid meme.
...then the Rand Ridden/Norquist /Luntz/Limbaugh /Atwater/Rove droolers attacked the very integrity of our national psychology.
 
 
0 # wgalison 2012-04-06 19:15
SIGN THE PETITION TO DEMAND AN INDEPENDENT PROSECUTOR TO INVESTIGATE THE MURDER OF SUNNY SHEU AND THE COVER UP BY THE NYPD
 
 
+1 # wgalison 2012-04-06 19:16
PETITION FOR AN INDEPENDENT PROSECUTOR TO INVESTIGATE THE MURDER OF SUNNY SHEU:

http://signon.org/sign/assassination-of-a-whistlebl?source=c.em.mt&r_by=1128342
 
 
+1 # giraffee2012 2012-04-07 16:19
Is it Bloomberg or him and all those elected in NYC? Current TV (Al Gore's station) has documentaries that show the police at work in NYC - it's unbelievable what the police in most cities in USA are now "allowed" to do - -remind anyone of the Brown Shirts in Germany? Or the Gestapo in Russia?

#1 We have to get justices who will not pass into law "person hood" for corporations to buy our government.

Vote Obama 2012 so that the next Justice is not another of the RATS pack (Roberts, Aliota, Thomas, Scalia) - Scalia is in his 70's - maybe he'll leave soon (hope)

Call your Democratic headquaters in your area to then donate part of ONE day to help get Dems to the polls - it's the best we can hope for - and please VOTE in 2012.
 

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