October 13, 2012
Video: New York Police Call Teenager a "Mutt" During Stop-and-Frisk
The Nation magazine has released what is said to be one of the few known audio recordings of New York City police questioning a young man of color under the department’s controversial "stop-and-frisk" program. The audio was recorded last June by a Harlem teenager named Alvin, who says he was stopped frequently by police. On the recording, police officers can be heard telling the teenager he looked suspicious because he had his hood up and was "looking back" at them. They also threaten Alvin with physical violence and use racialized language, calling him a "mutt."
Officer: "You wanna go to jail?"
Alvin: "For what?"
Officer: "Shut your [expletive] mouth, kid!"
Alvin: "What am I getting arrested for?"
Officer: "Shut your mouth!"
Alvin: "What am I getting arrested for?"
Officer: "For being a [expletive] mutt! You know that?"
Alvin: "That’s a law? Being a mutt?"
Officer: "Who the [expletive] do you think you’re talking to?"
Alvin: "Because you’re over here telling me, why I have a bookbag, why I have a bookbag on, and said, for my hoodie."
Alvin: "While they’re holding me — the sergeant’s holding me like this. He’s like, ’I’m gonna — I’m gonna break your arm.’ I’m like, 'Why are you — you're gonna break my arm?’ He’s like, 'Yeah, then I'm gonna punch you in the face.’ I was, ’You’re gonna punch me in the face?’ He’s like, 'Yeah.' He’s like, 'And then I'm gonna arrest you.’ I’m like, 'Arrest me for what?' He’s like, 'For being a mutt.'"
New York City police, by their own count, conduct more than 1,800 stop-and-frisks every day. More than 20 percent of those stops reportedly involve force. People of color are disproportionately targeted. About 87 percent of people stopped last year were black or Latino.
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