The NYPD has broken their record for stop-and-frisks in a single year...again. New York's finest stopped and interrogated people 684,330 times in 2011, according to The Wall Street Journal, a 14 percent increase over 2010.
And who was it that got stop-and-frisked the most? 92 percent of those stopped were males, and 87 percent of those stopped were black or Hispanic, a glaring disparity considering blacks and Hispanics make up only 59 percent of the city's population.
Just 12 percent of those stopped were arrested.
"Last year alone, the NYPD stopped enough totally innocent New Yorkers to fill Madison Square Garden more than 30 times over," NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said in a statement. "It is not a crime to walk down the street in New York City, yet every day innocent black and brown New Yorkers are turned into suspects for doing just that. It is a stunning abuse of power that undermines trust between police and the community."
The NYCLU isn't alone in their anger. Councilman Jumaane Williams (who experienced a little NYPD friskiness first-hand), Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Professor Cornel West have all expressed criticisms-- with Williams and Stringer even calling on the federal government to investigate.
The program has also proved a legal liability to the embattled police department (which is still enjoying high approval ratings). This summer a federal judge gave the green light to a lawsuit against the NYPD, accusing cops of discriminating against blacks and Hispanics. And, as The Village Voice notes, "In the month of January alone, more than three dozen lawsuits alleging improper stop-and-frisks were filed, based on a Voice reading of the complaints. Extrapolated, that means that the city could be sued more than 400 times this year alone just on improper stops."
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne echoed Mayor Bloomberg's and Ray Kelly's defense of the program. From The Journal:
"Stops save lives,"Mr. Browne said. He estimated that over the past 10 years, there were 5,628 fewer homicides than in the decade before Mr. Bloomberg took office.
"That is a remarkable achievement--5,628 lives saved--attributable to proactive policing strategies that included stops," Mr. Browne said.
Homicides were down 4% in 2011 and remained under 600 for the 10th straight year. Overall, major crime, which includes violent offenses and serious theft, ticked up by less than 1%.
Mr. Browne said 8,263 weapons, including 819 guns, were recovered as a result of stops.
According to the NYCLU, stop-and frisks have increased 600 percent since Mayor Bloomberg took office in 2002.