MSNBC highlights the racial disparities in social distancing policing

Paul Butler: “Social distancing policing is the new stop and frisk”

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Citation From the May 11, 2020, edition of MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson

AYMAN MOHYELDIN (GUEST HOST): Switching gears for a moment, if I can, about social distancing and how it is being policed in different cities and different states. We've seen some troubling patterns, at least here in New York City. There are examples from multiple states about the racial disparities between how police in some areas are handing out masks but in others, using force to try and break up large crowds. In New York City, 81% of the summons issued from March 16 to May 5 went to people identified as Black or Hispanic. That's got to be a troubling trend. What should be done about this, do you think?

PAUL BUTLER (FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR): So social distancing policing is the new stop and frisk. Stop and frisk was the program by the NYPD that a federal judge found was unconstitutional because it selectively targeted Black and Hispanic people for arrest. Here we see the same kind of disparities. We've all seen the images of lots of white folks crowded in public parks in New York and there's no arrest. We can't have a situation in which the police hand out masks to white people who are violating social distancing guidelines and arrest or issue summons to African Americans and Hispanics. That's the picture of unequal justice under the law.