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Posted on 5/20/2013
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio released a new report bolstering the case for new legislation barring racial profiling by law enforcement.
> Scroll down to read the full report or click here to download (.pdf)
According to the Public Advocate’s report, the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactics show a pattern of profiling not only in the frequency with which minorities are stopped—but in the quality of those stops as well. Stops of African-Americans in 2012 were barely half as likely to yield a weapon as those of white New Yorkers, and were a third less likely to yield contraband. De Blasio labeled the stark difference a clear case of racial profiling, resulting in young men of color stopped repeatedly without cause.
De Blasio urged swift passage of a pending City Council bill that would ensure race was not the sole factor behind a police stop.
The Public Advocate’s analysis of Police Department 2012 stop-and-frisk data found:
- The likelihood a stop of an African American New Yorker yielded a weapon was half that of white New Yorkers. The NYPD uncovered a weapon in one out every 49 stops of white New Yorkers. By contrast, it took the Department 71 stops of Latinos and 93 stops of African Americans to find a weapon.
- The likelihood a stop of an African American New Yorker yielded contraband was one-third less than that of white New Yorkers. The NYPD uncovered contraband in one out every 43 stops of white New Yorkers. By contrast, it took the Department 57 stops of Latinos and 61 stops of African Americans to find contraband.
- Despite the overall reduction in stops, the proportion involving African-American and Latino New Yorkers has remained unchanged. They continue to constitute 84 percent of all stops, despite comprising only 54 percent of the general population.
“There’s an ugly truth in these numbers. It’s not just that minorities are more likely to be stopped—they’re more likely to be stopped without cause,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “We need to fix this broken system now. The safety of our neighborhoods and our police officers depends on rebuilding the bond between law enforcement and community.”
“The Public Advocate's report confirms what we see representing clients every day in the Bronx,” said Kate Rubin, Director of Policy at The Bronx Defenders. “Despite promised reforms a year ago, black and Latino New Yorkers--especially young people--are still stopped every day based on nothing more than the color of their skin or the neighborhood they hang out in. Every one of those stops widens the gap of trust between NYPD officers and the communities they are supposed to serve and protect.”
“It is progress to see that the racial disparities in the use and efficacy of stop, question and frisk are finally resonating after years of advocates and community members crying out for reform. Statistical analysis shows that the Department's blanket and discriminatory approach has been both ineffective and inefficient, not to mention unconstitutional,” said Council Member Jumaane Williams. “Blacks and Latinos continue to be treated unjustly by a policy that is proportionally more effective on stops of white suspects. Stop, question and frisk cannot be the only tactic in the NYPD's toolkit for addressing public safety. We need to take a serious approach to crime in communities of more color. Bias-based profiling cannot be part of that solution, and it is time our city had an enforceable ban on that practice so we can focus on the public safety measures that save lives, rather than divide our city.”
“This confirms what we all know to be true in neighborhoods like Bushwick: there's a double-standard in the way stops are conducted. There is no doubt innocent people are being stopped every single day for no other reason than the color of their skin. It's wrong, it undercuts police-community trust, and it has to stop. We applaud Public Advocate de Blasio for his report and shining a light on these stark disparities,” said Javier Valdes, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York.
De Blasio is pushing for both the creation of an Inspector General at the NYPD and legislation barring racial profiling in order to reform the stop-and-frisk practice. Both bills are currently pending in the City Council.