By Katarina Zimmer and Elise Hansen
One fall evening about two years ago, a man named Dister was walking with a friend in Washington Heights, near 173rd Street, when he was abruptly approached by a pair of police officers.
“Hey, where you guys going? Are you coming from a train station?” Dister recalls them asking loudly.
Dister, who does not want his last name published, saw no apparent reason for the officers to approach him and his friend in the first place.
He perceived the officers’ questions as unnecessary and confrontational, but said he didn’t feel comfortable ignoring them or just walking away. These kinds of experiences have been a regular occurrence for him in his Washington Heights neighborhood, he said.
For Dister, the era of “stop, question and frisk” isn’t over. Experts warn that he isn’t alone in his experience, although it is hard to say how common it is because similar episodes affecting numerous New Yorkers may never show up in the NYPD’s statistics.