The NYPD stopped and interrogated more than 161,000 completely innocent New Yorkers in the first quarter of 2011, the highest number over a three-month period since the Police Department began reporting data on its troubling stop-and-frisk program.
About 88 percent of the 183,326 stop-and-frisk encounters recorded from January through March resulted in neither an arrest nor a summons, according to figures the NYPD released quietly over the holiday weekend. About 84 percent of those stopped by police were black or Latino.
“The NYPD is turning black and brown neighborhoods across New York City into Constitution-free zones,” said Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “A trip to the corner store should not have to include the assumption that you’ll have to explain yourself to the police, but that is the troubling reality for residents in predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods.”
Last week, the NYCLU filed a federal lawsuit challenging the NYPD’s unlawful practice of detaining, questioning and searching innocent New Yorkers – particularly blacks, Latinos and other non-whites – who are riding in livery cars. The lawsuit maintains that the NYPD is using its Taxi/Livery Inspection Program (TRIP) to expand the reach of its unconstitutional stop-and-frisk program.
The latest statistics show a 22 percent increase in the number of stop-and-frisk encounters over the 149,753 stops recorded during the first three months of 2010. At this rate of increase, the NYPD will make well over 700,000 stops this year.
The NYPD recorded a total of 601,055 stop-and-frisk encounters in 2010 – an all-time high. About 53 percent, or 317,642, of those stopped were black and another 32 percent, or 190,491, were Latino. Only about 9 percent of people stopped were white.
“The explosive growth in the stopping and frisking of innocent black and Latino New Yorker has to stop,” NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn said. “Stopping and frisking hundreds of thousands of innocent people each year makes nobody safer, it only increases distrust and resentment between police and the communities they are sworn to protect.”
Culminating a campaign started by the NYCLU in 2007, the New York State Legislature last summer passed a bill that protects New Yorkers’ privacy rights by ending the NYPD’s practice of keeping a computer database of completely innocent people swept up in the Department’s stop-and-frisk program.