New data released to the City Council by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) summarizing stop-and-frisk statistics for 2011 revealed the highest yearly total stops to date – 684,330 – with no meaningful change in huge racial disparities.
The 2011 stop-and-frisk numbers are 14 percent higher than the number of stops in 2010, and it represents a more than 600 percent increase since 2002, the year the NYPD began keeping stop-and-frisk figures. Eighty-seven percent of those stopped in 2011 were Black or Latino, and the low rates of correlation between stops and actual arrests persist: nine out of ten persons stopped were not arrested, nor did they receive summonses.
The new data builds upon eight years of previous data showing that race is the main factor determining NYPD stops, according to a statement released by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR.) This is true even after adjustments are made for other factors including crime rates, social conditions, and allocations of police resources in various neighborhoods. Most stops occur in Black and Latino neighborhoods and, in all neighborhoods, Blacks and Hispanics are significantly more likely to be stopped than Whites. Also disconcerting, stop-and-frisk data has repeatedly shown that NYPD officers use physical force at a significantly higher rate during stops of Blacks and Latinos.
Police stops-and-frisks without reasonable suspicion violate the Fourth Amendment, and racial profiling is a violation of fundamental rights and protections of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Further, this kind of heavy-handed policing promotes mistrust and fear of police officers in communities of color–rather than serving those communities, police end up occupying them.
The personal impact of stop-and-frisk is hard to overestimate. For many children, being stopped by the police on their way home from school has become a normal afterschool activity. As described by one person who has been stopped-and-frisked four times, for young people in many neighborhoods, getting stopped and frisked has become a rite of passage, something young Black and Brown youth constantly expect will happen to them. The data demonstrates that the egregious, racially-discriminatory practice of stop-and-frisk is a daily reality for many New Yorkers.
The Center for Constitutional Rights, with co-counsel Covington & Burlington, LLP, and Beldock, Levine & Hoffman, LLP, represents victims of the NYPD’s racially discriminatory stop-and-frisk practices in a federal lawsuit, Floyd, et al. v. City of New York, et al., which stems from the Center for Constitutional Rights’ landmark racial profiling case, Daniels, et al. v. City of New York, et al., which led to an agreement requiring the NYPD to provide stop-and-frisk data to CCR on a quarterly basis.