Broken Windows and the Promotion of Police Violence

by Keeshan Harley, Youth Organizer/Researcher, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn

Months after the death of Eric Garner, all officers involved have yet to be held accountable. As I watch closely to all that is happening across the country in response to numerous cases, I reflect on my own interactions with the NYPD in my neighborhood of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. As a young black man who has been stopped and frisked over 100 times in the last six years, I realize that at any moment during those interactions, my life could have also been stripped away. Broken Windows policing that targets communities of color with overly aggressive policing and tactics like cracking down on minor offenses – promotes this violence. It’s what led to the explosion of stop-and-frisk abuses and what contributes to the death of a Black male at the hands of a police officer every #28Hours: Ramarley Graham, Eleanor Bumpurs, Arthur Miller, Anthony Baez, Nicholas Heyward Jr, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Iman Morales and unfortunately too many others have been taken from us. In order to truly improve police-community relations, there needs to be a systemic and substantive change from how City Hall and the NYPD have responded to these incidents of police brutality in the past. The lack of accountability for officers who target, stop-and-frisk and murder members of communities of color reaffirms everything that I believed about the ‘American Justice System’ – It works, If you don’t look like me.