A new report released by the New York Civil Liberties Union has revealed the NYPD disproportionately stopped and frisked black and Latinos at a much higher rate than whites.
The NYCLU found:
"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 6th Precinct, which includes parts of Soho and the Village, blacks and Latinos make up only 8 percent of the population, but accounted for 77 percent of those stopped in 2011.
The NYPD and local politicians have repeatedly defended the racial disparity in stops by saying minorities are disproportionately involved in violent crime. In 2011, however, only 10.5 percent of police recorded "violent criminal activity" as justification for the stop.
Under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, stop and frisks have increased 600 percent since 2003. As previously reported, 87 percent of those stopped in 2011 were black or Latino.
NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said in a statement:
“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.”
Out of 160,851 stops in 2003, cops confiscated 604 guns, or about one gun for every 266 stops. In 2011, with an additional 524,873 stops, cops only uncovered 780 guns. Although blacks and Latinos were stopped more, whites were more likely to be found with a weapon.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne, told the New York Times, "We think it is a prescriptive result we may be seeing,"
Lieberman isn't buying that explanation as she told the New York Daily News-
"We don't buy that notion and it's unacceptable. The bottom line is the police department is required to judge people based on what they're doing. If what they're doing is perfectly legal and not suspicious of criminal activity then why on earth is the Police Department subjecting them to be thrown up against the wall."
9 out of 10 people stopped and frisked in 2011 were neither ticketed nor arrested for a crime.
Public Advocate and future Mayoral candidate, Bill de Blasio called for an internal audit of the program and criticized the program saying-
"We cannot wait until the Mayor leaves office to change this broken policy. Stop and frisk is a valid police tool, but it is being misused thousands of times each day. Every unwarranted stop widens the gap between police and the communities they protect—making us all less safe. The Mayor needs to exercise leadership and direct the NYPD to reduce unwarranted stops. If he doesn’t, we will show him the way."
De Blasio is right, unwarranted stop & frisk only hurts the relationship between the community and the police it doesn’t help. To read the complete NYCLU report, click here.