Police in New York City disproportionately stop black and Latino people even in low-crime areas, leading to a "two-tiered" policing system that divides along racial lines, according to civil rights campaigners.
A new analysis of NYPD figures by the New York Civil Liberties Union challenges the police's assertion racial disparities in stop-and-frisks reflect the geography of New York's high-crime areas.
Using the department's figures, the report revealed that in six out of the 10 precincts with the lowest numbers of black and Latino people in the city, black and Latino citizens represented over 70% of those stopped.
In all, there were more stops of young African American men than the total of population of that group in the city. Nine out of ten of them had committed no crime.
Drawing on the NYPD's own figures, the NYCLU argues the department's controversial policy of stopping and frisking hundreds of thousands of citizens each year has done little to change the number of guns on the street, presenting a direct challenge to the justification for the practice frequently provided by mayor Michael Bloomberg and the NYPD.
Rather than making the streets safer, the abuse of stop-and-frisk has created a "two-tiered" system in which African Americans and Latinos are disproportionately targeted, the NYCLU claims.
Donna Lieberman, executive director of the NYCLU, speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, said the report offered "the most comprehensive analysis yet of NYPD stop-and-frisk activity in 2011".
"This analysis paints the most vivid and damning picture yet of how the police department routinely abuses the stop-and-frisk tactic, and it sends a call to the mayor, to the police commissioner and to the city council and the justice department, and to all the mayoral candidates in New York City," Lieberman said. "We, as a city, are in the throes of a full on civil rights crisis."
New York City Mayor Wallace, er, Bloomberg loves data.
Well, the NYCLU has a ton of data for his data-loving ass:
The NYCLU's report is drawn from analysis of an NYPD database that stores detailed information on stops, frisks, the use of force and weapons recovery. Accessing the database allowed the organization to review the practice on a precinct to precinct basis. Lieberman said the findings revealed a "tale of two cities".
"Let me be clear: under this administration we have come to see a two-tiered system of policing in New York. There's a kinder, gentler policing that we see on the Upper East Side or in Park Slope, and the up-against-the-wall policing that we see in Brownsville and Harlem," Lieberman said.
"This cannot stand. Real people's lives are in the balance. Whole generations of boys and girls are growing up afraid of the very people that are supposed to be keeping them safe."
According to NYCLU's findings, there were a total of 685,724 stops in 2011, a marked increase from 2002, when 97,296 were reported. The stops were distributed unevenly throughout the city's precincts, with the highest total – 31,100 – reported in the impoverished, predominantly black neighborhood of East New York and the fewest – 2,023 – reported in the increasingly gentrified neighborhood of Greenpoint.
Black and Latino New Yorkers accounted for more than half of the stops in 70 out of 76 of the city's precincts, while in 33 precincts they accounted for more than 90%. In five precincts that figure climbed to 98%.
The NYCLU report raised a challenge to the NYPD's claim that racial disparities in in the figures match areas of high crime New York City. Using the department's figures, the report revealed that in six out of the 10 precincts with the lowest numbers of blacks and Latinos in the city, black and Latino citizens represented over 70% of those stopped.
"Virtually everyone who's getting stopped is black and Latino," the NYCLU's legal director, Chris Dunn, said at Wednesday's press conference. "That shows that targeting is happening of blacks and Latinos, even in low-crime, low-minority precincts."
We have a racist mayor who has empowered a racist police commissioner to turn New York City into a racist police state.
Bloomberg and Kelly don't belong in positions of power.
They belong in jail.