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Video Series Shows Cost of Stop & Frisk

"There’s a lot of things that can make the community safer,” says former Police Officer Adhyl Polanco. “Stopping and harassing innocent people is not going make the community safer.”

Polanco’s testimony on the dangers of stop and frisk policing tactics can be seen in the latest installment of the powerful Where I Am Going documentary series launched by Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), a coalition in which the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) has been actively involved.

Polanco’s video shows the institutional pressure placed on officers to harass innocent community members, many of whom are immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ, and homeless individuals. After the "1 arrest / 20 summons / 5 stop and frisks" monthly policy was mandated by the NYPD in 2009, Polanco reached a turning point in his career compelling him to choose between his career and his morals.

“This is not what I became a cop for. This is not what I wanted to do,” he says after describing being ordered to arrest an innocent 13-year-old boy.

Other video testimonies in the Where I Am Going series include accounts from a teenager and a member of the clergy.

In August the New York City Council overrode Mayor Bloomberg’s veto of the Community Safety Act, the bill which reforms NYC's abusive stop and frisk tactics. Since then CPD has been sharing best practices from the successful campaign with partners in other states across country in an attempt to replicate this important victory.

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