NEW YORK (CBS 2) — It happens dozens of times a day all around the city — police stop and frisk someone they think is acting suspiciously.
But a Brooklyn man said he wasn’t doing anything wrong when he was stopped and frisked in front of his own house recently.
He said it was racial profiling.
“I felt violated,” Terrence Battle told CBS 2’s Don Dahler.
Battle, a 37-year-old radio station executive, took a livery cab home after a night out last Saturday. When he got to his house in his Bed-Stuy neighborhood in Brooklyn, he noticed flashing lights. Three plain-clothes policemen approached the car.
“I figured maybe the cab had some sort of problem, maybe a broken tail light. I don’t know, whatever, something, but it was about the cab, is what I assumed,” Battle said.
The officers were from the 81st Precinct.
“They asked the cab driver, is everything okay? Driver says yes. And immediately they turned their attention to me,” Battle said.
They asked him to step out of the car. He said he complied, being careful to not move too quickly.
“[It was] very intimidating. Three officers, plain clothes, and questioning me and patting me down and going in my pockets and they grabbed my bag, and were going through my bag. And I’m like why are you going through my bag?” Battle said.
The officers explained they had the right to search the cab and anyone in it because it had a safety decal on the window stating as much. It was also within the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said stop and frisks are an important tool for law enforcement in the city. Even though only about 12 percent of them result in an arrest. But Battle said he has a different name for them.
“Definitely racial profiling,” he said.
The NYPD released this statement saying: “This falls under the category of damned if you do, damned if you don’t. The livery driver was part of a voluntary safety program in which he displayed a sign authorizing the police to stop the vehicle. The police properly made the stop and questioned a passenger who fit the description of the robbery suspect.”
Battle said the cops never mentioned there was a robbery suspect in the area.
“What’s suspicious? Am I black? Is that suspicious? I’m in Brooklyn, is that suspicious? I’m 6-foot-4 1/2, is that suspicious? It’s garbage,” Battle said.
The hard part, Battle said, was talking to his two young sons afterward about how to act when they get stopped and frisked.
In fact, that already happened two years ago when the boys were coming home from their grandmother’s. They were at the time 9 and 11 years old.
Battle has filed a formal complaint with the NYPD.