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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Report Says Cops Target Minorities in 'Stop and Frisk'

NYPD targets minorities in stop and frisk: report 
The New York Daily News by Rocco Parascandola  -  May 9, 2012
NYCLU finds that blacks and Hispanics more likely to be stopped by cops 

More young black men were stopped and frisked by police last year than actually live in the city, according to an analysis by the New York Civil Liberties Union. About 168,000 black men between the ages of 14 and 24 were stopped under the controversial NYPD program in 2011 -- compared to the 158,406 who live in the five boroughs. The startling statistic is part of a harsh critique of the NYPD’s stop, question and frisk program based on 685,724 encounters between cops and citizens in 2011. The analysis of the hot button issue was based in part on information the NYCLU obtained from the NYPD, which says the stops have been instrumental in recovering guns and driving crime down to record levels. NYCLU also revealed that although blacks and Hispanics comprised just 14 % of the population in six precincts, they still accounted for more than 70 % of the stops there. For instance, in the 6th Precinct, which covers Greenwich Village and Soho, 77 % of the stops involved blacks and Latinos - even though they comprise just 8 % of the population. The number is almost as high - 71 % - in the 19th Precinct that covers the Upper East Side, where blacks and Latinos are just 9 % of the population. The NYPD has consistently denied racial profiling and has said that it targets those who commit crimes. The NYCLU also found that while stops soared by more than 524,000 between 2004 and last year, the number of guns recovered increased by only 176. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has in the past said the controversial tactic has forced criminals to think twice about leaving home with weapons. "We don't buy that notion and it's unacceptable,” said Donna Lieberman, the NYCLU's executive director. "The bottom line is the police department is required to judge people based on what they're doing. If what they're doing is perfectly legal and not suspicious of criminal activity then why on earth is the Police Department subjecting them to be thrown up against the wall." "This is strikingly indicative of the way the department is targeting young black men,'' said Christopher Dunn, the group's associate legal director. Police conducted frisks in 56 % of the stops city-wide, but frisks in five precincts soared above 71 % -- including the Bronx's 46th Precinct, where those stopped were frisked 80 % of the time. "What is powerful about this is this is a report about their data,'' Dunn said. "These are facts. This is not rhetoric.

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