News & Politics

Watch: Jon Stewart Softballs Ray Kelly on Stop-and-Frisk

Stewart misses a prime opportunity to press the NYPD Police Commissioner on his most controversial tactic.

Jon Stewart missed an opportunity during his show last night to press NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk tactics.

While interviewing Kelly, Stewart only briefly touched upon the commissioner’s most controversial strategy.

“What’s the problem with that program?” Stewart asked.

“This is a practice done in every law enforcement jurisdiction in America. You see someone who is suspicious. You stop them. You search them to see if they have a weapon,” Kelly responded.

A NYPD report released yesterday shows that minorities make up an overwhelming majority of said “suspicious people.” The report reveals that in 2011, nearly nine out of 10 victims of stop-and-frisk tactics were African American or Hispanic. Furthermore, the report doesn’t mention how many of those who were stopped and frisked were eventually arrested, raising questions about the efficacy of the program.

Stewart failed to question Kelly on the strategy’s blatant racial profiling. He didn’t ask about the physical force used during many of these searches, often targeting minors. Stewart didn’t touch upon police-directed sexual assault, or the extra humiliation women must endure during these stops.

The comedian, however, did point out the folly of Kelly’s defense.

“What would the criterion be?” Stewart asked, regarding stop-and-frisk.

“If someone is acting in a way that rises to reasonable level of suspicion. That, they have, they are or about to commit a crime,” said Kelly.

“So, in New York, that’s about 80 percent of us.”

Watch the interview below:


The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
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Steven Hsieh is an editorial assistant at AlterNet and writer based in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter @stevenjhsieh.

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