‘Stop And Frisk‘ is hailed by NYPD law enforcement officials as a life-saving police tactic that keeps guns off of the streets and prevents gun-related crimes from occurring.
But Tyquan Brehon (pictured) of Flatbush, Brooklyn, says that the tactic has made it impossible for him to walk the streets in peace. Brehon claims that he has been stopped by cops more than 60 times before his 18th birthday, according to the New York Times.
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“Most of the times I get stopped, I’m walking down the block,” he says. “They never say, ‘This is why I’m stopping you.’ When you’re young and you’re Black, no matter how you look, you fit the description.”
‘Stop And Frisked’ New Yorkers Speak Out!
Breton recalled a time when officers stopped and frisked both him and a group of other teens and lined them up against a wall. Breton asked why he was being stopped. An officer told him he was spraying graffiti on the wall. Breton in turn asked how could he possibly be spraying anything on the wall if it is Black and he only has a pink highlighter in his pocket.
According to Breton, once you ask officers what their motive is, it provokes negative reactions. “That’s when you can hear a change in their tone,” he says. “They start to get a lot more aggressive. And they feel threatened.”
Breton says he has seen the inside of many police precincts just for asking why he was stopped. His complaint is similar to many Black and other minority New Yorkers. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made headlines when he addressed a Black church congregation on Sunday, praising “Stop and Frisk” as a life-saving tactic. The New York Post reported that while the church members applauded Bloomberg’s remarks, several of them criticized “Stop and Frisk” after the service because they feel police are very disrespectful when they carry it out.
“I’ve been stopped and frisked about five times and I have no problem showing them that I’m not carrying a weapon or drugs, but the police treat me like I’m already guilty,” said Timothy Coleman, 55, a drug counselor.
“I’ll agree that a lot of it is Blacks carrying guns. But we’ve got to respect them, even if they are carrying guns.”
Breton says the multiple police stops caused him to rebel in ways that hurt his studies at one school he attended. The presence of cops and armed security guards evoked so much fear in him that Breton would avoid them at all costs. “I would do stuff that would get me suspended so I could be, like, completely away from the cops,” he told The Times. It worked.
He was expelled.
But, fortunately, his life soon turned for the better, according to The Times:
Mr. Brehon’s life turned around when he transferred to Bushwick Community High School and joined Make the Road New York, a community organizing group that is part of Communities United for Police Reform, a coalition of organizations.
Now he says that he wants to attend college and eventually become a lawyer so that he can help other minorities who are unfairly treated by police. To watch the video version of this story, please go to The New York Times.