Today, the New York Civil Liberties Union released an exhaustive analysis of the entire New York Police Department computerized stop-and-frisk database for 2011––and guess what! It’s a pretty racist practice. The database contains details like use of force, reason for stop, and recovery of weapons––details not seen in the reports the NYPD submits to the City Council quarterly.
There been a 600% increase in stop-and-frisks since Bloomberg took office in 2002: in 2011, there were a recorded 685,724 stops versus 2002’s 97,296. Of the 685,724 individuals stopped, 617,151 were innocent, and about 596,579 were black or Latino. That’s a 90% innocence rate, and an 87% minority rate.
Echoing Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn said, “Our analysis demonstrates the alarming extent to which the NYPD is targeting innocent black and brown New Yorkers…The abuse of stop-and-frisk is making communities of color across New York City fear the force that is supposed to protect them.”
Some highlights (lowlights?) from the NYCLU’s analysis:
• In 70 out of 76 precincts, blacks and Latinos accounted for more than 50 percent of stops, and in 33 precincts they accounted for more than 90 percent of stops. In the 10 precincts with black and Latino populations of 14 percent or less (such as the 6th Precinct in Greenwich Village), black and Latino New Yorkers accounted for more than 70 percent of stops in six of those precincts.
• Though they account for only 4.7 percent of the city’s population, black and Latino males between the ages of 14 and 24 accounted for 41.6 percent of stops in 2011. The number of stops of young black men exceeded the entire city population of young black men (168,126 as compared to 158,406). Ninety percent of young black and Latino men stopped were innocent.
• Though frisks are to be conducted only when an officer reasonably suspects the person has a weapon that might endanger officer safety, 55.7 percent of those stopped in 2011 were frisked. Of those frisked, a weapon was found only 1.9 percent of the time.
• Black and Latino New Yorkers were more likely to be frisked than whites and were less likely to be found with a weapon.
NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said, “The NYPD’s own data undermine many of the Bloomberg administration’s justifications for the stop-and-frisk program. Contrary to the mayor and police commissioner’s assertions, the massive spike in the number of stops has done little to remove firearms from the streets. Instead, it has violated the constitutional rights of millions of people and corroded the ability of communities of color to trust and respect the police.”
Most of the 2013 mayoral hopefuls have come out against the current stop-and-frisk tactics, so there’s hope. But really, New York. You can do better. (Photo: Pamela Drew/Flickr)
Below is a video of a young black man not getting frisked after he is stopped by police officers in Crown Heights last year. If you can withstand his the volume of his friend’s voice (it’s really loud), you might be able to hear this kid tell police he won’t give his consent to be harassed.