Future cadets of the New York Police Department will receive instruction on not being racist or sexist, at the recommendation of a federal monitor overseeing reforms stemming from a federal lawsuit against the police department’s stop-and-frisk policy. Peter Zimroth, a federal monitor overseeing reforms to cops’ stop-and-frisk tactics under a court order, asked Manhattan federal Judge Analisa Torres Monday to greenlight 140 pages of new training material – including power-point slides to the current class of cadets who will be graduating this June.
The recommended guidelines were filed Tuesday due to Manhattan federal Judge Shira Scheindlin’s 2013 ruling that found the city’s stop-and-frisk tactics unconstitutional. Stop-and-frisk is defined as the practice of stopping a person solely on suspicion of criminal wrongdoing. The person stopped is often subjected to aggressive questioning and a lengthy search of their person or vehicle. The practice has been frequently criticized for having a significant racial bias and being ineffective in reducing crime.
Zimroth in a letter to Torres said the guidelines were developed with input from the NYPD and that they could be modified for future rookie classes. These new guidelines also include helpful pointers such as, there is no scientific evidence to support the idea that differences in personality, temperament, character, or intelligence are based on race. Cadets will also be taught that “most members of the community are good, law-abiding people who appreciate their presence and the positive influence police have on children and young people. According to New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) statistics, in 2014, among those stopped, 55 percent were black, 29 percent Latino and 12 percent white. Nearly nine out of 10 New Yorkers subject to stop-and-frisk are innocent. The new training manual will include several extreme rules:
- Do not tell or tolerate ethnic, racial or sexist jokes.
- Avoid expressing stereotypical assumptions.
- Do not imitate the speech patterns of others: This will appear disingenuous, artificial and possibly racist.
- Do not use terms or words that devalue groups of people.
- Do not engage in racial profiling, adding “it diverts us from catching real criminals.”
- When dealing with people who use English as a second language “speak slowly and … clearly” do not use jargon, slang, idioms, or reduced forms (e.g. “gonna,” “gotta,” “wanna,” “couldja”)
Much of the material deals with racial profiling and procedures to legally stop and frisk a suspect. For instance, “hunches and gut feelings” are not reasonable suspicion to stop and frisk a person, the papers say. Another section notes “race is a social rather than a biological construct.” The guideline also says “Do not tell or tolerate ethnic, racial or sexist jokes, even if you believe they are not offensive,” “Avoid expressing stereotypical assumptions that spotlight minorities or other groups, or that set them apart from others.
Examples: ‘For a woman cop, she did a good job’ (implying that this is the exception rather than the rule, or that female cops should be judged by different standards than males). ‘He’s Latino, but he works hard.’ ‘She’s black, but she really knows her stuff.’ ‘He’s gay, but he’ll leave you alone.’ ‘He’s Colombian but not involved with drugs.’ ‘She’s Italian, but I don’t think her family has any mob connections.’ ‘He’s Irish, but I’ve never seen him drunk.’” These new regulations come into effect following a string of several severe cases of police brutality towards African American teenagers.