The New York Civil Liberties Union has a new report on the NYPD’s stop and frisk program through the first nine months of 2012. The good news is that the number of stops is down; the bad news is that the stops are still pervasively targeted at black and Hispanic people.
The NYPD stopped more than 1,400 totally innocent New Yorkers every day during the first nine months of 2012, according to a New York Civil Liberties Union analysis of new police data. During the first three quarters of the year, police stopped innocent New Yorkers 383,897 times – the overwhelming majority of whom were black or Latino. At the same time, street stops declined by 30 percent from the same period last year.
“It’s encouraging to see street stops decline for the second quarter in a row,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the NYCLU. “The drop in stop-and-frisks coupled with the drop in gun violence contradicts the NYPD’s narrative that stopping and frisking every person of color in sight is necessary to reduce crime in New York City.
“At the same time,” Lieberman continued, “the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program continues to have a 90 percent failure rate. It remains a tremendous waste of resources, sows mistrust between police and the communities they serve, and 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 remains the disturbing reality for young men of color in New York City.”…The latest stop-and-frisk report shows that the NYPD stopped and interrogated New Yorkers 105,988 times between July 1 and Sept. 30. About 84 percent of those encounters did not result in arrests or tickets. About 87 percent of those stopped were black or Latino. Whites were around 10 percent of people stopped.
Unfortunately, there is little chance that the Supreme Court, as currently configured, will do anything to rein in this clearly unconstitutional policy. The 4th Amendment could hardly be more clear: You cannot search someone without probable cause, not merely a vague perception by police officers that someone is acting suspiciously. The fact that they are wrong more than 90% of the time clearly proves that they don’t have probable cause.