Refusal is Ignorance: A Marine's story of Racial Profiling

**On July 22, 2013, New York City Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly issued an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal to respond to the claims of racial profiling and discriminatory practices within its jurisdiction across the five boroughs (Click Here). He cited various statistics and 'real-time' facts about the success of his programs when properly executed, insisting that the Police were doing their job, and doing it well. In the comments section, I came across an open response written by former United States Marine Corps 1st Lieutenant and Maritime Lawyer, Wayne Parker, detailing his experience with the "strategies" put into effect by Commissioner Kelly and his subordinates. I reached out to him via e-mail, and with his permission, I am posting it here.

Please note that the views expressed here are his own, but it is important, in the quest for an egalitarian, non-biased justice system, to see both sides of issues such as these**

[Dated July 23, 2013]:

Dear Mr. Kelly,

The stop-and-frisk program is liberal White America's racism run amok under the guise of preventing black-on-black violent crime. I'm an African-American male with fairly conservative views and not a big fan of the liberal Left and their insane "political correctness run amok" policies. I graduated from the US Naval Academy (class of 1990), served six years as a Marine Corps officer, graduated from University of Southern California Law School and practiced law in NYC at two big Wall Street law firms for eight years. I have no criminal record.

Twice in the eight years I lived in NYC (2003-2011) I was stopped by NYPD officers while visiting friends in Harlem. Those of you who live in NYC know that south Harlem has been gentrifying for about a decade now and I had friends, black and white, who had moved into the neighborhood. On one occasion, I was frisked because the NYPD officers in question thought I MIGHT have a handgun under my winter overcoat. They provided no rational basis for the search when I challenged them other than I "generally matched the description of someone" in the neighborhood who they thought might be involved in some criminal conduct. Given that the neighborhood was still about 80% black and the two cops were white, I have to wonder what they meant by matching the general description of some suspect. When they couldn't find a weapon or drugs, they then had the nerve to tell me to leave the area since I "didn't belong." I blew them off and when they saw me again later that evening and threatened me with arrest, I demanded to know on what charge. I let them know I was an attorney and warned them I would sue them personally for any further nonsense. Since several other attorney and professional friends were with me at the time (some white, some black), I think the NYPD officers realized that they were going to have a bigger problem that they wanted in dealing with me and let matters go, though not without making rude remarks and acting in the most unprofessional manner. I considered complaining to the NYPD but realized that the powers that be in the highest ranks of the NYPD and Bloomberg's administration have no incentive to change their policies. They have invested too much political capital in the stop-and-frisk program to objectively realize that it is a violation of Constitutional norms to search people without probable cause. And please don't waste my time with some lame excuse about how racial profiling is not part of the NYPD's official policy. The two officers I deal with were clearly engaged in racial profiling and my friends who witnessed this nonsense agreed. So I'm certain that an{sic} complaint to the authorities would have resulted in no more than NYPD issuing an apology for the two men's conduct rather than punish them.

That experience confirmed what I was always knew: that the stop-and-frisk program is nothing more than an infringement of certain NYC residents'/citizens' Constitutional rights against unreasonable searches and seizures posing as a measure to stop minority violent crime.