Green Party Says “No” to Stop-and-Frisk Policy at City Council Hearing

From the Green Party of Philadelphia:

Green Party Says “No” to Stop-and-Frisk Policy

A representative of the Green Party of Philadelphia (GPOP) testified against the stop-and-frisk policy at Philadelphia City Council hearings on Tuesday, December 14. Stop-and-frisk has been enforced by Mayor Nutter, City Council, and the police for the last three years. Stop-and-frisk involves a police officer running his or her hands along the outer garments to detect any concealed weapons. The stop-and-frisk program is being criticized by opponents who say that it leads to racial profiling and direct violations of citizens’ Constitutional Rights.

Hugh Giordano, www.hughgiordano.com, who is a union organizer and candidate for PA State Representative in District 194, represented the Green Party, www.gpop.org. Giordano, in his testimony told a story in which as a young teenager, he was pulled over, frisked and called “Chico” several times by the police. “I was so embarrassed,” Giordano told City Council, “I was accused of stealing the car I was driving, and when I told the officer it was my car, he told me, ‘We’ll see about that, Chico.’”

Giordano, who is Italian with tan skin and dark complexion, testified that he was told to put his hands on top of the car and was frisked as if he was some sort of violent criminal. “I did nothing wrong, but was profiled because of my age, the way I looked and because I was urban.” Giordano told City Council that he was so embarrassed because it was 5:00 p.m. on a Friday, and it was rush hour. “People were staring at me. It really ruined my day.”

Giordano feels that when stop-and-frisk is used on innocent citizens, it creates tension among the young citizens and the police. “If you make enemies with the innocent citizens of Philadelphia because you have such policies that make this possible, you will continue to have a ‘no-snitching’ mentality among the residents. They will protect other citizens rather than tell police what is going on in the area,” said Giordano. The no-snitching mentality refers to a code of the streets that you don’t “rat” on others to the police. Giordano feels that creating tension between police and citizens only makes the no-snitching mentality stronger.

Giordano made it clear that stop-and-frisk targets, urban, minority and young citizens. “This law is a form of Jim Crow law,” said Giordano, referring to discriminatory laws used to maintain segregation of the races. “It attacks a certain group of people, and the numbers and testimony shows it.” During 2009, police stopped and frisked 253,333 Philadelphians, 72 percent of whom were African-Americans. Only eight percent of these stops resulted in arrests. This is a violation of the Constitutional Rights of every resident of Philadelphia.

Giordano also criticized City Council because when it came to the testimony part of the hearing, they enforced speaking time-limits on lawyers, activist and professors. “It crack’s me up,” said Giordano. ‘When the Mayor’s people and the city administrators wanted to talk, they had all the time in the world, but when the people started speaking – Oh, now there are time limits.”

Giordano and the Green Party feel that this is a direct failure of City Council for not stepping up to the plate and defending the citizens as they were elected to do. “City Council might not be the law, but they create law; and this is one law that should be abolished,” said Giordano.

For more information about Hugh Giordano and the Green Party, please call please call 215-243-7103 or email gpop@gpop.org.

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