Six state senators, all from New York City, wore hoodies during a legislative session in the Capitol Chambers yesterday. Beyond simple hoodie solidarity — which has already gripped Clay Aiken, the Miami Heat, and scores more — the senators also sought to protest the New York–born racial policing that they claim influenced the tragedy in Florida. Senator Eric Adams, a former NYPD sergeant and Brooklyn Democrat, told reporters:
It was born here in New York City and now it has cascaded all the way down to the southern coast of Florida. The stop-and-frisk policy gave birth not only to police officers believing that a person of color is automatically a criminal, now it has grown into the civilian patrol units.
In Albany yesterday, the six hooded lawmakers read off a list of black men killed by New York police, tracing responsibility back to Rudy Giuliani. "It is horrific what happened to Trayvon," Adams added. "But it happens every day in the city of New York."
The senators also attacked the NYPD's new, aggressive frisking policy, claiming that it prompts a climate of racial suspicion that could have inspired George Zimmerman to follow Trayvon Martin on the night of his death.
In 2011, New York City cops "stopped, questioned, and frisked" a record 684,330 people — 87 percent of them black or Hispanic. Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries commented, "While Jim Crow may be dead, he's still got some nieces and nephews who are alive and well."
Like the national lawmakers with whom Trayvon's parents will meet today in Washington, all six New York senators were Democrats.