NYPD Stopped 351,739 People Last Year for “Furtive Movements”
There’s been a good deal of reporting on this report the NYCLU released last week, but the report itself must be read to fully understand the gravity of the stop-and-frisk abuse in NYC.
Consider this chart, for example, showing that Mike Bloomberg has had even more success inflating stop-and-frisk numbers than he ever had inflating the stock market.
Then there’s the stat that shows more young black men were stopped last year (168,126 stops of young black men) than reside in the city over all (158,406 total)–statistically, at least, every single young black man has been stopped.
Finally, though, there’s the list of reasons cops gave for having stopped someone in the first place–with “furtive movements” accounting for over half the stops, and “clothes commonly used in a crime” (does this mean hoodies?) cited in 31,555. What’s worse, cops only suspect a violent crime 10% of the time.
The cops frisked the person they stopped over half the time–purportedly because they suspected a weapon that might threaten the officer. Yet they found the weapon that justified the search less than 2% of the time–and weapons were more often found on white men who were stopped than blacks or LatinosIn December, Nicholas Peart wrote a devastating op-ed on what it has been like for him to mature under Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk explosion, describing the four times he has been stopped and frisked.
Last May, I was outside my apartment building on my way to the store when two police officers jumped out of an unmarked car and told me to stop and put my hands up against the wall. I complied. Without my permission, they removed my cellphone from my hand, and one of the officers reached into my pockets, and removed my wallet and keys. He looked through my wallet, then handcuffed me. The officers wanted to know if I had just come out of a particular building. No, I told them, I lived next door.
One of the officers asked which of the keys they had removed from my pocket opened my apartment door. Then he entered my building and tried to get into my apartment with my key. My 18-year-old sister was inside with two of our younger siblings; later she told me she had no idea why the police were trying to get into our apartment and was terrified. She tried to call me, but because they had confiscated my phone, I couldn’t answer.
Meanwhile, a white officer put me in the back of the police car. I was still handcuffed. The officer asked if I had any marijuana, and I said no. He removed and searched my shoes and patted down my socks. I asked why they were searching me, and he told me someone in my building complained that a person they believed fit my description had been ringing their bell. After the other officer returned from inside my apartment building, they opened the door to the police car, told me to get out, removed the handcuffs and simply drove off. I was deeply shaken.
For young people in my neighborhood, getting stopped and frisked is a rite of passage. We expect the police to jump us at any moment. We know the rules: don’t run and don’t try to explain, because speaking up for yourself might get you arrested or worse. And we all feel the same way — degraded, harassed, violated and criminalized because we’re black or Latino.
He ends this passage by asking, “Have I been stopped more than the average young black person?” And the ACLU report makes it clear that his experience is absolutely statistically normal for a young black man.
Which presumably means the result he describes–the fear, the degradation, the criminalization–are fairly typical as well.
This systematic humiliation of one segment of our society must not be tolerated.
One would think that a rational stop and frisk policy would require something approaching probable cause to believe that a violent crime might be contemplated.
These stats suggest a blatant policy of intimidation of non-whites is the norm, together with a randomness that makes the intimidation general, as if it such stops were a “normal” and “natural” form of policing rather than an expression of a more coercive surveillance state, whose surveillance is primarily aimed at protecting the high moneyed class and, concurrently, intimidating civil society.
It would be interesting to see similar stats for Rahm’s Chicago, especially during the upcoming NATO meeting. Or will we be treated to a news as well as civil rights blackout, and squads of Blackwater mercenaries, GIGN, GSG 9, SAS and, for good measure, a few Ghurkas masquerading as “normal” police?
Outrageous, but most blacks will tell you it’s been this way a long, long time now. It is more than time for this BS to stop. – Thanks for writing on this!
I thought this little bit from the report captures the absurdity — and the criminality — of this policy:
So there is no reinforcement taking place for such behaviors, in terms of success feeding greater frequency of such behaviors. No, this is racism pure and simple. It is the face of American power, as displayed in the Bronx, East Harlem, or for that fact, Detroit, South L.A., South Side Chicago, San Francisco’s Bayview, etc.
Most of it’s the usual bloodboilers, but that part about taking the key and trying to get into Mr. Peart’s apartment with it is new in my first- or second-hand experience, and is truly outrageous, more like something one might see on The Shield than reasonable police procedure for the real world.
Were they intending to plant something there? Yes, strategies are needed.
How many a month to meet the quota?
It would be interesting to see on which day of the month the largest number of searches happened, did a large majority of them take place in the last few days of the month?
Walking back to the subway from the New York Botanical Garden, in the Bronx, I went by a building that had a sign “Operation Clean Halls” displayed at the front door. I wondered what that was all about.
The following week, I happened upon this story in my dead tree Times:
Heart breaking. The NYPD is as bad as the NOPD. Good thing New York isn’t in danger of being hit by a hurricane. oh wait…..
I’m guessing that not even one of the One Percenters are included in those statistics.
@MadDog: Well, no, bc the people getting stopped in white neighborhoods ALSO happen to be the black kids.
Heads you lose tails you lose, kind of thing.
I expected Jeff Kaye to say just like in South Africa- in the old days.
Take out references to where this is taking place (USA) and this reads like a description of a fascist State. Once you give up Liberty for Security you will have neither.
NYPD responding to complaints about stop-and-frisk policies