NYPD Stop and Frisk program irks borough board

In 2011, in its stop-and-frisk program, the NYPD recorded an all-time high and more than six times the number of stops that occurred in 2002; executing nearly 685,000 stops in 2011.

Records indicate that 85 percent of those stopped were Black and Latino; and only 7 percent of those stops resulted in arrest — a figure consistent across racial groups.

In a pending lawsuit condemning the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk record, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringr and the Manhattan Borough Board noted that:

* No gun was found in 99.9 percent of stops;

* Many of these stops are not based on reasonable suspicion that a crime has or is taking place, but instead rely on dubious grounds such as “furtive movement”, which was recently banned as a basis for stops in Philadelphia; and

* one out of seven arrests New York City are for low-level marijuana possession.

The borough board noted that the stop-and-frisk program costs city taxpayers $75 million a year in police and court costs; and that many young people are charged with these low-level offenses which do not carry jail time, but can compromise their chances at securing financial aid, accessing public housing, obtaining gainful employment, and enlisting in the military.

Borough President Scott Stringer and the borough board point to the facts which show that:

~ In 2000, the United States Civil Rights Commission concluded that the NYPD stop-and-frisk program amounted to racial profiling; and,

~ In August 2011, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York found that serious questions remain about racial disparities in current stop-and-frisk practices about the constitutionality of thousands of stops that do not result in arrest; and,

~ Quotas may have a role in driving the four-fold increase in stops over the last decade; and

~ The current stop-and-frisk practice is creating a deep layer of distrust bewteen police and the city’s Black and Latino neighborhoods that makes solving crime harder, not easier.

The Manhattan Borough Board seeks redress with immediate resolution of the discriminatory practice, with the NYPD taking steps to reform Stop and Frisk practices immediately in order to address the racial disparities and constitutional concerns, by:

— Implementation of measures, which may include increasing the accountability for precinct commanders through CompStat

~ New training at the Police Academy to make stops more constitutional and less confrontational;

~ Exploration of proven alternatives to stop-and-frisk, like the “call-in” approach pioneered by John Jay College Prof. David Kennedy, which has reduced violent crime by up to 60 percent in cities such as Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

The Manhattan Borough Board resolution also calls for a partnership between the United States Department of Justice and the NYPD to launch an investigation to determine “how Stop and Frisk is used in New York to determine whether racial profiling remains a problem and, if so, determine what steps should be taken to address such problems and improve the implementation of stop and frisk practices, “including whether the Department of Justice should appoint a special monitor.”

Borough President Scott Stringer and the Manhatan Borough Board would like to see passage of legislation pending before the State Legislature making possession of small amounts of marijuana in “public view” a violation, rather than a misdemeanor.

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