Hakeem Jeffries Questions Eric Holder on Stop-and-Frisk

By Paul DeBenedetto on May 16, 2013 12:55pm | Updated on May 16, 2013 1:02pm

 Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, pictured here after winning the 2012 primary, called on Eric Holder to investigate stop-and-frisk.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, pictured here after winning the 2012 primary, called on Eric Holder to investigate stop-and-frisk.
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DNAinfo/Sonja Sharp

NEW YORK CITY — Hakeem Jeffries took time out of a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday to question Eric Holder on the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy.

At the hearing, which mostly focused on the Justice Department's probes into the Associated Press and alleged scrutiny of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status by the IRS, Jeffries reminded Holder of a meeting last year with the Congressional Black Caucus, in which the attorney general expressed interest in an investigation into the program as a civil rights violation.

"Almost a year has passed since that meeting took place," Jeffries said. "Have you come to a conclusion as to whether its appropriate for the justice department to look into the matter?"

Holder responded that the DOJ had not reached any conclusions, but that the issue was still under review internally.

"I hope that we will be able to move this along," Holder said. "I know there is a civil suit, from which a lot of the information is coming out. But it is something, as I think I said then, that we were prepared to look at, and something that, in fact, we are examining."

Critics of stop-and-frisk say the program unfairly targets black and hispanic New Yorkers. In 2011, 700,000 people were stopped in New York, a 600 percent rise from Mayor Michael Bloomberg's first year in office. Most of the people stopped were black or hispanic. 

The city stands by the practice, saying that the majority of crime occurs in communities of color.

At the hearing, Jeffries called the program "very aggressive" and expressed concern over the "90 percent" of those stopped who did nothing wrong.

"No gun, no weapon, no drug, no contraband," Jeffries said. "No basis for the arrest or the encounter, whatsoever."

The mayor's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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