The dramatic increase in stop-and-frisk was the signature public safety initiative during the 12 years that Michael Bloomberg was the mayor of New York City and Raymond Kelly served as commissioner of the NYPD. That initiative sparked a national controversy, cast a cloud over a time when murders fell to record lows, and became the central issue leading to the election of Bill de Blasio, who ran on a commitment to reform stop-and-frisk.
The stop-and-frisk controversy dates back to February 1999, when four white members of the NYPD’s Street Crime Unit fired 41 shots and killed an unarmed black Amadou Diallo at the entry of his home. After allegations of racial profiling by the unit emerged, the New York City Council in 2001 enacted legislation requiring the NYPD to report to the Council detailed information about stops of pedestrians, including information about their race.
In the fall of 2006, the New York Civil Liberties Union learned that the NYPD had failed to follow the law and provide the City Council with stop-and-frisk reports. After the NYCLU pressured the Department to release the data, it finally did so in February 2007, at which time it was disclosed that stops had grown from about 97,000 in 2002 to more than 500,000 in 2006.
That revelation ignited a substantial public controversy. In the ensuing years, the NYCLU successfully sued to force the NYPD to release its electronic database of stop activity, succeeded in getting the New York State Legislature to pass a law barring the NYPD from keeping in the database the names and addresses of innocent people who had been stopped, and kept the public debate going by releasing quarterly reports about stop-and-frisk activity. In 2012 the NYCLU sued the NYPD over stop-and-frisk abuse at private residential buildings, and in January 2013 a federal court found widespread constitutional violations. In August 2013 the court found similar violations in a much broader case brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights challenging street stops generally.
This report provides detailed information about the NYPD stop-and-frisk program during the Bloomberg era. Using the NYPD’s database, this report charts the number of stops and frisks, examines the role of race, provides precinct breakdowns, identifies the number of innocent people stopped, details the use of force, and examines the relationship between stops, gun recovery, murders and shootings. The goal of the report is to provide a complete factual record of stop-and-frisk activity during the Bloomberg administration.
To order print copies of a publication on a reproductive rights topic, use the Reproductive Rights Project publication order form, available for download in PDF format
. To order any other publication in print form, call 212.607.3300. Most publications are also available for download in PDF form.