NYPD stop-and-frisks targeted 91% people of color in 2020
By Curtis Brodner
(NEW YORK) The New York City Police Department targeted people of color in 91% of stop-and-frisks in 2020, a small increase from 2019, the Brooklyn Paper reported.
The review of NYPD data carried out by the Legal Aid Society pointed to the continued disparity between the way white New Yorkers and everyone else are policed.
Police must have a reasonable suspicion that the person they are stopping is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a crime, according to NYPD policy. Frisks are only supposed to happen when an officer believes the person they stopped might be armed. These judgement calls are ultimately at the discretion of officers.
Very few frisks this past year resulted in the discovery of a weapon — 5.44% found a knife, 5.91% found a gun and 1.87% found a different type of weapon.
The total number of stop-and-frisks decreased in 2020 from 13,495 to 9,544, a decline the Legal Aid Society attributes to the coronavirus pandemic, but the percentage of stops for people of color increased from 90.97% to 91.03%.
Both those figures are a significant decrease from the days of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration. Stop-and-frisks reached an all-time high in 2011 with 685,000 stops. Then too, people of color were the primary targets of the policy. The scale has decreased, but the racial disparity remains.
The 75th Precinct in East New York had the highest number of stops. The 75th is also the most sued police precinct in the city, according to an investigation by The Intercept.
In 2013, a federal court found the stop-and-frisk policy unconstitutional and ordered the NYPD phase out the practice. Eight years later, police are still stopping and frisking New Yorkers.
“This latest data from the NYPD shows that not enough has changed with the way the NYPD interacts with New Yorkers of color since the mayor claims to have ended stop-and-frisk,” said Molly Griffard, a legal fellow with the Legal Aid Society’s Cop Accountability Project, per the Brooklyn Paper.