The NYPD is set to record its 5 millionth stop-and-frisk encounter under Mayor Bloomberg today, according to an analysis by the New York Civil Liberties Union based on an extrapolation of Police Department data.
About 4.4 million of the stop-and-frisk encounters, or 88 percent, were of innocent people as they did not result in an arrest or summons. More than 86 percent of people stopped were black or Latino.
“This disturbing milestone is a slap in the face to New Yorkers who cherish the right to walk down the street without being interrogated or even thrown up against the wall by the police,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “The NYPD’s routine abuse of stop-and-frisks is a tremendous waste of police resources, it sows mistrust between officers and the communities they serve, and it routinely violates fundamental rights. A walk to the subway, corner deli or school should not carry the assumption that you will be confronted by police, but that’s the disturbing reality for young men of color in New York City.”
To stop a person lawfully, a police officer must have reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime.
In 2002, Mayor Bloomberg’s first year in office, NYPD officer conducted 97,296 street stops. By 2011, the number of stops spiked to 685,724 – an increase of 605 percent. Last year, the number of stops dipped to 533,042. Still, 473,300 of the stops, or 89 percent, resulted in no arrest or ticket. And 87 percent of people stopped were black of Latino.
The 5 millionth stop-and-frisk encounter occurs on the eve of a landmark trial in Floyd v. City of New York – a federal class-action lawsuit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights challenging the constitutionality of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices, which is set to begin on Monday.
The remedy phase of the trial also involves Ligon v. City of New York, a lawsuit filed by the NYCLU, The Bronx Defenders, LatinoJustice PRLDEF and the law firm of Shearman & Sterling LLP challenging the NYPD’s enforcement of Operation Clean Halls – a citywide program within the Police Department’s stop-and-frisk regime that allows police officers to patrol in and around certain private apartment buildings.
In the Ligon case, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that the NYPD has a pattern and practice of illegally stopping innocent people in public areas outside thousands of private apartment buildings in the Bronx. She also ruled that she would consider specific remedies at the same time that she considers possible remedies being proposed by the plaintiffs in Floyd.