February 15, 2012
In 2010, when the NYPD broke its previous all-time-high record for stop-and-frisks with a sensational 601,055 street stops, many “frisk fans” said there was no way NYPers could top that in 2011! But Coach Ray Kelly’s dream team has just clinched another champion season, breaking the previous record by stopping and questioning an all-time-high of 684,330 people. At press time, video from 1 Police Plaza showed a trio of triumphant beat cops sneaking up behind Kelly with a giant tub of Gatorade. Look out, Popeye!
According to records obtained by the Wall Street Journal (paywall), only 12% of the 684,330 people stopped were arrested or received summonses; the others were not charged. (In 2010, 14% were arrested.) The NYCLU says that more than 4 million people have been stopped since the program began in 2004. (The 5th millionth person stopped gets a complimentary foot-long hoagie!) In 2010, about 84 percent of those stopped by police were black or Latino, while only about 9 percent of people stopped were white. Last year, the racial breakdown kept on that trend: 87% were black or Latino, and 9% were white.
But homicides were down 4% in 2011, and NYPD spokesman Paul Browne tells the Journal, “Stops save lives.” Browne argues that 8,263 weapons, including 819 guns, were recovered as a result of stops. But NYCLU director Donna Lieberman says the NYPD has “cut off oversight and important questions by saying crime is down…crime rates were going down before the skyrocketing stop-and-frisk campaign. Once again we see a massive expenditure of resources for a tactic that fails to uncover criminal activity in all but a little more than 10% of the cases.”