Nearly nine out of 10 people “stopped and frisked” under a controversial New York Police Department policy in 2011 were African-American or Hispanic.
The data comes from a report released by the NYPD Monday, which showed that of the 685,724 stops made by police that year, 53% of those questioned were black, 34% were Latino, 9% were white and 3% were Asian.
The citywide population in 2011 was 23.4% black, 29.4% Hispanic, 12.9% Asian, and 34.3% non-Hispanic white, according to the report.
Brooklyn’s 75th precinct, which includes East New York and Cypress Hills, had the most “stop and frisk” incidents with 31,100. Of those, 97% of the people involved were either black or Hispanic.
The population in that precinct in 2011 was 53.5% black, 37.9% Hispanic, 5.1% Asian, and 3.5% white.
According to the New York Daily, 605,328 of the 685,724 stops (88%) in 2011 were of people engaged in no wrongdoing.
The term “stop-and-frisk” rolls off the tongue with such ease and frequency that we tend to forget the fact that a stop does not justify a frisk. To lawfully stop a person, a police officer must have reasonable suspicion the person has committed, is committing or is about to commit an unlawful act.
Then, even if a stop is lawful, officers can only conduct a frisk when they reasonably suspect a person has a weapon that might endanger officer safety. Despite this limitation, nearly 56% of those stopped in 2011 were frisked. Those frisks produced a weapon less than 2% of the time.
At bottom, the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk regime represents a civil rights violation — one that disproportionally targets young black and Latino men. Though they make up only 4.7% of the city’s population, black and Latino males between the ages of 14 and 24 accounted for 41.6% of stops in 2011. The number of stops of young black men exceeded the city’s entire population of young black men.
The commissioner contends that this happens only because officers go where the crime is. But last year, large percentages of blacks and Latinos were also stopped in overwhelmingly white neighborhoods like Greenwich Village, where 77% of people stopped were black or Latino.
According to data by the NYCLU, stop and frisk has not reduced the number of people who fall victim to shootings. In 2002, there were 1,892 victims of gunfire and 97,296 stops. In 2011, there were still 1,821 victims of gunfire but a record 685,724 stops.
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