97,000 people were stopped in New York due to stop-and-frisk in 2001. By 2011, the number had climbed to 685,000. In 2013 a judge ruled that unlawful stop-and-frisks had violated the rights of thousands of Black and Hispanic men. To fix the problem, the NYPD began hiring consulting companies but overwhelmingly, they were white. Black people are disproportionately targeted by police but the dollars spent to correct the problem, somehow, steer clear of Black owned companies. A proper protest of police brutality should include challenging where departments spend their dollars.
NYPD hires consultants to help create policies to improve relations and interactions with Black communities. It would seem, naturally, that people from the communities impacted are uniquely qualified to help the department, in that respect. However, an analysis by THE CITY found that 96% of the $321 million the NYPD spent on consultants over the last decade, went to white-owned firms. Indeed, NYPD officers were taught how to address implicit racial bias by a white firm from Tampa. A group of white lawyers from California came to train cops on how to perform stop-and-frisks legally. A white company from Seattle produced a report on how to teach police cadets to avoid racial profiling. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), which has never had a Black chairman and currently has but one Black board member, was hired to draft a “neighborhood policing strategic plan.” PWC had a net worth of $42 billion in FY 2019, incidentally.
This is a slap in the face to Black communities and a clear indicator of how serious these efforts of “repair” and “reconciliation” truly are. Black people were overwhelmingly harmed by NYPD policies but the department spent hundreds of millions with white companies in an effort to repair the damage. NYPD, however, isn’t unique and Black people should take careful notice. Appealing for minor reforms in policing has its place but that advocacy shouldn’t ignore the economic injustice that police departments perpetuate daily. As Black people continue to support Black businesses, there must also be a focus on how the entities that interact with Black people spend their dollars.
This example from the NYPD is blatant and utterly ridiculous. It should be understood, however, that the NYPD is likely not very different from any other department across the country. The millions that the NYPD spent on white consultants, to help relations with Black people, came from the public– Black people are a part of the public. In this case, especially, Black people have every right to advocate for those funds.
Read the full report from THE CITY here.