Analysis of New NYPD Stop-and-Frisk Data Reveals Dramatic Impact on Black New Yorkers

Affiliate: ACLU of New York
November 26, 2007 12:00 am

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NEW YORK – A New York Civil Liberties Union analysis of recently released New York Police Department data about police stops and frisks of New Yorkers reveals the black community in New York continues to be the target of improper stops and frisks by police officers.

That analysis, some of which was presented in an op-chart published in yesterday’s New York Times, comes the week before the anniversary of the Sean Bell shooting and on the eve of the expected release of a RAND Corporation report commissioned by the NYPD to examine its stop-and-frisk practices.

The NYCLU analysis looks at stop-and-frisk activity from January 1, 2006 through September 30, 2007, during which time police officers reported 867,617 stops. Though blacks represent far less of the New York City population than do whites, police stopped 453,042 blacks as compared to only 94,530 whites during the period. Similarly, though only 83,452 whites were stopped without being arrested, police stopped 402,943 blacks without making arrests.

The disparity between whites and blacks is particularly stark when one looks at the number of stops of whites and blacks as a percentage of the city’s white and black populations. Stops of whites, who number about 3.6 million according to recent census estimates, amounted to only 2.6 percent of the white population. By contrast, stops of blacks, who number about 2.2 million people, represented 21.1 percent of the entire black population.

Though not included in the op-chart, the NYCLU’s analysis also reveals a dramatic increase in the number of stops without an arrest. As compared to a 1999 study by then Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, which reported that police stopped nine people for each arrest they made, the most recent figures show that about twice as many people now are being stopped for each arrest. There also is a substantial racial disparity in arrest ratios, with 21.5 blacks being stopped for each arrest as opposed to only 18.2 whites being stopped for each arrest.

“We are deeply concerned about racial profiling by the police, and we believe the department must take aggressive measures to address this problem,” said NYLCU Executive Director Donna Lieberman.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” said NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn. “The black community continues to bear the brunt of police stops, blacks continue to be singled out for stops, and police may be stopping huge numbers of blacks and whites without justification.”

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