Monday, June 6, 2011

NYPD Sets New Stop-and-Frisk Record

The NYPD stopped more people in the first three months of 2011 than in any three-month period ever recorded. Given the grotesque level of racial discrimination exhibited by the NYPD in their stop-and-frisk activity, ending that activity must be our focus.

Stop-and-Frisk and Manhattan Viewpoint

More than any other issue we have highlighted, we have focused on Mayor Bloomberg's and the NYPD's obsession with stopping innocent people of color in our city.

In March of this year, we focused on the payments that our city has made using our tax dollars to the victims of stop-and-frisk activity.

In September of last year, we expressed frustration with the quotas imposed on NYPD officers by their superiors and how those quotas drive the stop-and-frisk abuses.

In May of last year, we summarized all of our previous blogs regarding the stop-and-frisk outrage and noted, with alarm, that the often cited "fit the description" excuse for the stop-and-frisk abuses were not even the excuses that the NYPD actually lists for the horrible racism that drives their policing philosophy. The NYPD's own excuse for stopping hundreds of thousands of innocent people of color each year is that the stopped individuals were behaving suspiciously. There is no crime reported in the area and no description to fit. The act of being a person of color makes one suspicious to the NYPD, and the NYPD's race-based suspicions turn into stops.

The Mayor and the NYPD continue to increase their racist tactics and intensify their abuse of communities of color, and non-racist people must stand up and oppose these abuses. If the Mayor will not end these practices, we must demand that the Mayor resign. No police force in our country should be permitted to abuse its citizens of color with such ferocious and racist dedication. We, as residents of the greatest city on our planet, must put an end to it.

A Disgusting New Record

We learned last week that the Mayor and the NYPD have now set a disgusting new record.

The Village Voice said it well:
Recent investigations into the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy, which is ostensibly to find firearms but doesn't usually work out that way, show that not only are the searches illegal in many cases, but they overwhelmingly target men of color in poor areas. These stops result in tens of thousands of arrests every year for small-scale weed possession, some of which would be thrown out if a judge ever saw them. But because most people don't know their rights, the cycle spins on: through the end of March, the NYPD has 183,326 stop-and-frisks on record this year, the highest number since they started keeping track in 2004. Of those, 11,925 people were arrested and 10,292 were issued tickets. Unsurprisingly, a majority of those stopped were black.

There have been 183,326 stop-and-frisk encounters recorded from January through March in NYC, according to NYPD records obtained by the NYCLU. About 88 percent of those stops resulted in neither an arrest nor a summons, and it probably won't surprise you that about 84 percent of those stopped by police were black or Latino. (In 2010, only about 9 percent of people stopped were white.) So far, stop-and-frisk incidents are up 22 percent over the same time period last year . . .

The Wall Street Journal's report on this tragedy ended with a quotation from the leader of the NYCLU, and her quotation is an appropriate ending for this blog entry:
Critics of stop-and-frisk point out that suspect descriptions make up only a small percentage of the reasons officers list for making stops. Over the first quarter of this year, suspect descriptions accounted for just under 15% of the reason stops were made, according to NYPD statistics.

Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said, the stop and frisk numbers “are going in the absolutely wrong direction.”

“Stop and frisk has a place in law enforcement but the abuse of this tactic to target absolutely innocent people is bad for all New Yorkers,” she said. “This practice seriously undermines the quality of life for people of color in New York City, particularly in the poorest, most vulnerable neighborhoods.”

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