The New York Civil Liberties Union plans to file a lawsuit today challenging the legality of the Police Department’s new policy of randomly searching bags and packages in the subway system.
The lawsuit, to be filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan, contends that the searches are "virtually certain neither to catch any person trying to carry explosives into the subway nor to deter such an effort." It also says that many riders have been selected in a "discriminatory and arbitrary" manner, creating the potential for racial profiling.
So what they’re arguing is two things: 1) random searches in and of themselves are useless and 2) random searches create the potential of ‘racial profiling.’ That’s code for: searching people who fit the profile. They don’t like that.
Under the search policy, officers are to use an essentially random criterion – stopping every 5th, 12th or 20th passenger carrying a bag or package. Selecting riders on the basis of race or national origin is prohibited.
Some on the NY City Council yesterday asked the police department to start compiling figures on the race and ethnicity of riders who get searched so they can prove that one group is not being targeted over the other. The spokesman for the police department, Paul J. Browne, said the police department plans to do no such thing. Thankfully, the police department is focusing on doing what needs to be done (protecting the city) rather than wasting valuable time compiling stats in order to try and please the bureaucrats and the people who claim to care about your civil liberties. Spurring on this request were comments by two bold NY state lawmakers:
One of those lawmakers, State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Brooklyn Democrat, said, "There is a terrorist profile for a potential suicide bomber, and it’s not the 75-year-old grandmother with sloping shoulders, who has an oversized tote bag firmly tucked under her arm."
The other lawmaker, Councilman James S. Oddo, a Republican who represents parts of Staten Island and Brooklyn, said, "Plain and simply, young Arab fundamentalists are the individuals undertaking these acts of terror," and added that he agreed with Mr. Hikind.
These guys are on the right track. But not to politically correct bureaucrats like Councilman Robert Jackson, Manhattan Democrat who said:
[…] extremists came in all forms. "A bomber or terrorist could look like you or I."
Oh really? I don’t what news programs Councilman Jackson’s been watching over the years, but the 9-11 hijackers didn’t look like you or me, the first attackers of the WTC don’t look like you or me, the London terrorists didn’t look like you or me, nor do the USS Cole terrorists, nor do the Kenya and Tanzania terrorists. I could go on and on.
If the NY police are profiling, good for them! My suggestion is for the city pencil pushers and the NYCLU to leave the NYPD alone rather than subject them to pointless demands for ‘proof’ that they aren’t profiling. There are people out there in this world who want to kill us. To the PC crowd in NYC: please let the NYPD do their jobs in protecting us from those threats.
Afternoon update: La Shawn’s thoughts.