Bringing more diversity into New York City’s police force is a challenge, the city’s police commissioner said recently, claiming that criminal records of the would-be recruits get in the way.
“We have a significant population gap among African American males because so many of them have spent time in jail,” Bill Bratton told the Guardian, “and, as such, we can’t hire them.” Black male recruits account for 6.86% of this year’s police academy class, down even from 7.3% in 1970.
Explaining why the pool of prospective officers lacked more non-white candidates, aside from already tense relations between minority communities and law enforcement in the wake of several high-profile police killings of unarmed black men, Bratton acknowledged the impact of the “stop-and-frisk” policy that a federal judge overturned in 2013, saying it overly targeted black and Latino men.
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