Infinity believes that he was also singled out because of his non-conformist hair style. “They were mostly inquiring if I was on psych meds,” he said. “I believe the reason was because my hair texture is different from that of the typical African-American male. My hair is very curly and wavy. So when it’s humid outside, it gets curly and stuff, and I tend to have frizzy hair every now and then. That, and my manner of dress, which is not what you would see of most masculine African-American males.”
“Some of that did factor into it, especially due to the area. I have been a member of the LBGTQ community and volunteered from time to time at some of the homeless youth shelters. I’ve heard of how officers have stopped individuals because they’re trans[exual]. “
With the recent Floyd v. City Of New York class action lawsuit against the city by the Center For Constitutional Rights reigniting the stop and frisk debate, LBGTQ organizations ensured their voices were heard in the discussion. In late March, the New York City Anti-Violence Project, Audre Lorde Project, FIERCE, Make The Road NY, and Streetwise and Safe congregated outside the Southern District Of New York court to make noise.
“A police car was across the street from me, with lights flashing, and three police officers jumped out,” Streetwise and Safe leader Mitchyll Mora shared with the crowd. “They began to immediately scream at me, ‘Stop! Get against the wall! Open your bag!’ Flashlights were shining in my face and their commands were ringing in my ears.
“I put my hands on the wall, terrified that I might have picked the wrong command to follow. One officer took my bag while the other began to aggressively frisk me. I asked why I was being stopped. I said I didn’t consent to this search. The officer responded by grabbing my as* and calling me a f*ggot. They drove away after telling me they were not looking for a gun, but an open container.”
“Our lives are policed. Our bodies are policed. Our pockets, our bags, our belongings are policed as people of color, including LBGTQ youth of color. “
A decision in the Floyd v. City Of New York case is expected to be reached shortly. In the meantime, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly seems to be making power plays to curry favor with the community.
On June 18, Kelly publicly backed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which would’ve outlawed discrimination against transgender people.
While the NY State Senate failed to bring GENDA to a vote before adjourning on June 22nd, one must wonder about the irony of Kelly supporting a bill outlawing discrimination against people with different gender identity expression, while simultaneously directing his officers to search them in the thousands. That irony wasn’t lost on William Dobbs, who sees Kelly as an enemy to transexual New Yorkers.
“Ray Kelly, whose officers have conducted millions of Stop & Frisks, including on many trans-folk without any reason, now claims to be a friend of the trans community by endorsing GENDA,” the LBGTQ activist said. “There’s something really odd here. It’s time for [the] Empire State Pride agenda to speak out against Stop & Frisk and stop playing political games with Ray.”
Maybe it’s also time we learn that stop and frisk also affects those who don’t conform to “straight” and “heterosexual” labels.
- ^Quality Of Life (www.fiercenyc.org)
- ^use (www.vice.com)
- ^patrol guide (www.nyclu.org)
- ^NY State Senator: NYPD Chief Said ‘Stop And Frisk’ Was To ‘Instill Fear’ In Blacks, Latinos (newsone.com)
- ^‘Stop And Frisk’? NYPD To Begin Testing High-Tech Device That Scans Weapons (newsone.com)