NY State Makes Cops Stop Collecting Names at Stop-and-Frisk

Paterson to sign legislation to stop cops from inventorying young people of color who are not arrested or fined.

By Naima Ramos-Chapman Jul 16, 2010

New York Gov. David Paterson is expected to sign into law today a measure that prohibits the police from electronically storing data on people they stop and frisk but not arrested. As the NY Times reported earlier this week, NYPD continues to stop tens of thousands of people in black neighborhoods with little cause and leading to almost no charges, merely gathering their names and data on them.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly vehemently oppose the new state legislation, arguing that it will deprive the police of a "great crime-fighting tool." This tool, as Kelly calls it, is used 90 percent of the time on non-whites, mostly young Blacks and Latinos according to today’s article in the New York Times.

Immediately after the bill hit Paterson’s desk on July 6, Kelly delivered a shoddy report of 170 cases since 2007 that he claimed the databases aided in apprehending suspects, in hopes to sway the governor to a veto. The Times reported that in at least 25 of those cases it was difficult to see the connection between crime-solving and data-banking.

The bill, which was introduced by Brooklyn Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and state Sen. Eric L. Adams, only address the data-banking segment of the stop-and-frisk campaign, not the campaign itself, which still leaves young black and Latino men vulnerable to racial profiling. Jeffries said the bill will be "the beginning point, not the end point, of a larger evaluation of the effectiveness and legitimacy" of the department’s stop-and-frisk tactics.