In May 2012, the New York Civil Liberties Union released a detailed analysis of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk activity during 2011. Based on the NYPD database that the Department now makes public following earlier NYCLU litigation, the 2011 report examined stops, frisks, summonses, arrests, the use of force and gun recoveries, all on a citywide and precinct basis. The 2011 report also delved into the wide racial disparities in the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk regime.
Since the release of the NYCLU report last year, the stop-and-frisk controversy in New York City has grown enormously. Shortly after release of the report, public officials and candidates seeking to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg started to regularly raise concerns about the stop-and-frisk program. In the summer of 2012, Mayor Bloomberg went on the offensive, attempting to aggressively defend the program by claiming that it reduces shootings and saves lives.
In October 2011, a federal judge presided over a hearing in a case brought by the NYCLU and others challenging the part of the stop-and-frisk regime conducted at private residential buildings enrolled in the “Clean Halls” program in the Bronx. In January 2012, the court ruled that the NYPD was systematically stopping building residents, visitors and passersby unlawfully.
Meanwhile, a package of NYPD reform bills in the City Council, collectively referred to as the Community Safety Act, has generated robust public discussion and is moving towards passage. Among other things, the bills would ban profiling by the NYPD and create an inspector general to review Department practices.
Finally, just days before the release of this report, a federal judge heard closing arguments in a two-month trial challenging the enormous number of street stops that are at the heart of New York City’s stop-and-frisk regime. A ruling in that case is expected this summer.
With all of these developments, a close examination of the stop-and-frisk activity from 2012 becomes particularly important. As with last year’s NYCLU report, this report discloses detailed information about all aspects of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program, including detailed breakdowns by precinct. New to this report is an analysis of marijuana-related aspects of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk regime.
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