A report from the New York Civil Liberties Union released Wednesday confirmed a trend that New York City minorities are all too aware of: the racial profiling of blacks and Latinos by the NYPD. The NYCLU published an analysis of the NYPD’s own reports on the stop-and-frisk program from 2002 to 2011, coinciding with the term of New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. In the same time frame, the number of “random” searches conducted by police has increased seven fold. Blacks and Latinos made up 87 percent of the NYPD’s 685,724 reported stops last year. Of all people stopped, 88 percent were totally innocent.
The stop-and-frisk program was implemented as a means to keep illegal drugs and guns off the street by allowing police to search possible suspects without an arrest. However, inconsistencies across the board have exposed the program as a means for police racial profiling. Young minority men made up 41.6 percent of the stops, despite being only 4.7 percent of the general population. In six of the 10 precincts where the minority population was less than 14 percent, blacks and Latinos made up 90 percent of those stopped.
Again, this data comes directly from the NYPD, whose officials see the results as a positive. Apparently, they believe fewer guns found in random searches means that criminals are leaving them at home. With outrage over the program increasing, the statistics have become a talking point among New York’s mayoral candidates, with current NYC Comptroller John C. Liu going so far as to say the program “should be abolished.”
NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman offered a statement, saying, “Contrary to the mayor and police commissioner’s assertions, the massive spike in the number of stops has done little to remove firearms from the streets. Instead, it has violated the constitutional rights of millions of people and corroded the ability of communities of color to trust and respect the police.”
The issue of trust is far gone in many of those communities, who view the police as a source of downright oppression. The NYPD’s ability to stand by their own horribly skewed statistics doesn’t do much to prove the people wrong.