Go ahead, stop and frisk us. But nicely, please.
That’s the gripe/plea from Soundview locals complaining over the 43rd Precinct’s use of the controversial stop-and-frisk tactic.
At a community meeting hosted by Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, local residents told precinct that rookies especially are being a bit too heavy handed in how they approach neighbors.
Karen Igrassia of Soundview complained about her son being stopped. She recalled how he was handcuffed, called “fat boy” and struck in the head with an officer’s baton.
recently. “He used to want to be a police officer,” she told the brass. “Now he can’t stand you.”
Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., who co-hosted the forum at Monroe High School, pointed out the irony, given the neighborhood complaints, of patrol cars with the message on the side saying “courtesy and respect.”
Other residents gave accounts of unnecessary arrests, verbal abuse and unprofessional conduct from mostly new Police Academy graduates under supervision patrolling a crime-plagued stretch of Westchester Avenue between Bronx River and Metcalf avenues that was re-designated an Operation Impact zone earlier this year.
Captain Todd Gleeson, an 18-year veteran who heads the impact zone, did his best to answer concerns without condemning his rookies.
“These officers are brand new,” said Gleeson, adding, “It takes us a little time to find ourselves.”
Despite the complaints, Gleeson reported a 17.5% overall drop in crime since the new zone was set up.
The latest crime stats show robberies and grand larceny cases continue to spike in the overall precinct since the start of the Impact Zone. There have been 149 robberies in 2012, up from 141 the same time last year. Grand larcenies jumped 19.4%, from 186 cases in 2011 to 222 this year.
Business owners, pleased with the overall drop in crime, were still not happy with the approach from officers.
“I know people who don’t drive through Westchester Avenue just to avoid getting stopped,” said one local businessman too scared to be identified for fear of reprisal from cops.
Concerns over the stop and frisk program come as Commissioner Ray Kelly unveiled new measures to prevent unnecessary stops, including better training and identifying problem cops.
“These measures will help us more closely monitor the daily street encounter activity of precinct personnel,” said Kelly in a letter to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.