NYCLU: Stop-and-Frisk is Down but Racial Disparities Persist

(Photo via El Diario)

Although the practice of stop-and-frisk by the NYPD has dropped drastically since 2011 when a NYCLU lawsuit – among other litigation – helped terminate the program, a new report by the same organization found that racial disparities remain notable when it comes to frisks and police treatment.

According to the report, entitled “Stop-and-Frisk in the de Blasio Era,” in 2017 there were 11,629 street stops, a decline of more than 98 percent compared to the 2011 numbers, when NYPD officials reported almost 700,000 cases.

However, Legal Director Christopher Dunn and Research and Data Strategist Michelle Shames, the report’s authors, found that stop-and-frisk disproportionately affects Black and Latino men.

“While we welcome the dramatic decline in reported stops, we remain concerned that the number of actual stops is far larger because officers are failing to document many stops,” said Dunn, who pointed out that while Black and Latino men between 14 and 24 years of age only represent 5 percent of the population in NYC, they account for 38 percent of reported stops.

Even worse, Dunn said that between 2014 and 2017, those males were innocent 80 percent of the time, meaning that they were neither arrested nor summoned. “Our report shows that racial disparities continue to be a stubborn problem, that most stops are of innocent people, and that the police routinely and improperly are frisking New Yorkers.”

Although these kinds of street frisks “are to be conducted only when an officer reasonably suspects the person has a weapon that poses a threat to the officer’s safety, 66 percent of reported stops led to frisks, of which over 93 percent resulted in no weapon being found.”


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