Boston Has a Stop-And-Frisk Problem, New ACLU Report Says

By Carla Murphy Oct 08, 2014

Boston police disproportionately stop black residents as compared to whites–even after controlling for crime. In a report released today from the ACLU Massachusetts chapter, a preliminary analysis of four years of stop data finds that neither neighborhood crime rate, alleged gang affiliation, nor arrest records explain the racial disparities in BPD’s recorded stops. The report highlights the disproportionately high number of stops of black residents (63.3 percent) relative to their percentage of the population (24.4 percent). But more consequential findings in the ACLU’s report may be:

  • BPD’s 2.5 percent hit rate out of 204,000 recorded stops, i.e. the rate at which weapons, drugs or other contraband were seized during stops;
  • unlike in New York City, Boston officers do not file reports when stops lead to arrest;
  • the final report on which this preliminary analysis is based was supposed to have been completed in 2012, then June 2014;
  • as of today, the final report is still pending so more information may be forthcoming; and
  • unlike in New York City, whose city council in 2001 mandated that NYPD release quarterly stop-and-frisk reports, the BPD’s data-sharing is by agreement with the ACLU chapter.

Read the ACLU chapter’s full report, "Black, Brown and Targeted." "Preliminary findings," it says, "make clear that now is the time for a meaningful public conversation about reforming stop-and-frisk practices in Boston."

(h/t The Washington Post)