The February 1999 shooting death of Amadou Diallo by police officers in the NYPD’s Street Crimes Unit triggered a broad public controversy about racial profiling and stop-and-frisk that continues to this day. Not only did the shooting prompt widespread protests, but it led the New York State Attorney General’s Office to conduct a detailed study of NYPD stop-and-frisk activity and led the New York City Council to enact legislation requiring the Police Department to provide quarterly reports about stop-and-frisk activity.
Following a lapse of several years without any NYPD reporting, repeated requests from the New York Civil Liberties Union and others forced the Department to disclose in March 2007 that stops had mushroomed from 97,296 in 2002 to more than 500,000 in 2006. Since then, the NYCLU has released quarterly reports compiled by the NYPD revealing that stops have continued to increase dramatically, with the nearly 700,000 stops last year amounting to a seven-fold increase from 2002.
Beyond the quarterly paper reports, the NYPD also maintains a computerized database of its stop-and-frisk program. Having successfully sued the NYPD to obtain the database, the NYCLU can provide a much more detailed picture of the stop-and-frisk program than is provided by the quarterly reports. While those reports are largely limited to providing basic numbers about stops, summonses (tickets), and arrests each quarter, the database allows one to analyze the stop-and-frisk program for the entire year and to examine in detail stops, frisks, the use of force, and the recovery of weapons. Analyzing the database also provides detailed information at a precinct level and allows one to look much more closely at race-related aspects of stop-and-frisk.
In this report the NYCLU provides a detailed picture of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program in 2011. This report examines stops, frisks, force, race, the recovery of weapons, and the treatment of the hundreds of thousands of innocent people stopped last year.
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