Rev. Al Sharpton said Saturday the secret recording released in court depicting a NYPD inspector instructing officers to specifically stop and frisk young black men is a "smoking gun," proving the NYPD uses racial profiling. NY1's Natasha Ghoneim filed the following report.
There was plenty of anger, but not much surprise at the National Action Network Saturday, when Rev. Al Sharpton and other leaders discussed the latest from the stop and frisk trial that began this week.
Sharpton and representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People called for the suspension of NYPD Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormack.
A tape, secretly recorded by a Bronx police officer, was released during court proceedings and showed McCormack talking about combating robberies in Mott Haven by targeting black youth.
"This is about stopping the right people at the right place at the right location," McCormack said in the tape.
"The problem was what?" he goes on to say. "Male blacks -- and I told you that at roll call, and I have no problem telling you this -- male blacks 14 to 20, 21."
Those words didn't sit well with activists.
"Why would you say that when clearly you're in a community not frequented by whites, other than this is the policy and you're saying it?" Sharpton said.
Civil rights groups are also urging the City Council to pass the proposed Community Safety Act.
"The Community Safety Act would require police officers, when they want to search you and don't have suspicion to think you're doing anything wrong, to tell you you have the right to just say no," New York Civil Liberties Union Director Dona Lieberman said.
"It's really degrading. I've even been to the precinct, where they have strip searched me," said James Jones, who has been stopped and frisked by police. "It resulted in a class action lawsuit because it was that many people that they had done the same thing to."
The Act would also establish an independent inspector general to oversee the police department.
There is broad support on the City Council but Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said there's already enough oversight.
Sharpton believes the city has reached a tipping point when it comes to overhauling the stop and frisk program.
"There will be a new mayor and probably a new police commissioner in January," Sharpton said. With this lawsuit and now with this tape, which is the smoking gun to establish the racial profiling aspect -- I think change is just around the corner."
McCormack will take the stand in the coming weeks.