‘Stop and Frisk’ update

Finally. Thanks to the perseverance of the New York Civil Liberties Union, the City of New York will clear the records of  thousands of innocent people who were stopped under the city’s controversial “stop and frisk” program.

Stop and frisk update

Image: Wikimedia Commons

To give some background, under Mayor Bloomberg the NY Police Department (NYPD) has conducted more stop-and-frisk encounters than the combined populations of Baltimore, Boston, Denver, Seattle, Detroit, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Pittsburgh. It could be argued that if stopping and frisking citizens is a way to significantly reduce street crimes and nuisance activities then it’s worth the cost and effort, right? Certainly. But, unfortunately, approximately 88%, or 4.4 million, of the stops were of innocent people. The stops rank as harassment as they didn’t result in either a ticket or an arrest. What’s more alarming is that over 86% of the individuals who were stopped were either African-American or Hispanic.

The NYPD compiled a database that allowed their investigators to use the aggregated information to  take information gathered during stop and frisk to gather clues for criminal investigations. In 2010, a state law required that the NYPD must expunge from the database the names and addresses of people who were stopped but not charged with a crime. The NYPD has agreed to erase the database within 90 days, and “any remaining information that establishes the personal identity of an individual who has been stopped, questioned and/or frisked, including the name and address” must be deleted.

Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union Donna Lieberman issued a press release in which she said, “New Yorkers who are the victims of unjustified police stops will no longer suffer the further injustice of having their personal information stored indefinitely in an NYPD database.”

{End of Quick News Bite!}



  1. Honest Abe says

    Black men age 15 to 29 represent less than 3 percent of the city’s population but account for one-third of those murdered. Overall, more than 90% of homicide victims are black or Hispanic in NYC. Correlatively, blacks and Hispanics together accounted for 98 percent of all gun assailants in NYC.

    The alternate view of stiop and frisk is that it is intended to save lives. The NYPD has a long way to go with regard to racial sensitivity. The easy politicl position is to simply through out the baby with the bath water, but at what cost to the lives of young minority men? Thoughtful deliberation requires closer examination of the issue rather than a knee jerk response, people’s life count on it.

    • Brooklyn Dame says

      “The NYPD has a long way to go with regard to racial sensitivity.” And THAT is the point. There is no suggestion here that the entire program needs to be scrapped. However when the officers themselves, albeit privately, admit that a significant percentage of the problems arise from the fact that they are told to keep their numbers up, then that is what causes innocent people could be harassed by the very people who are supposed to serve and protect. It is hardly a knee-jerk response to spend years analysing how many people are stopped compared to the number who are actually guilty of something. Racial profiling alone does not solve crimes and it certainly does nothing to further better relationships between the NYPD and communities comprised predominantly of people of colour. you are absolutely correct; people’s lives do count on it — and spending valuable resources and time boosting numbers and chasing after people who fit a particular description rather than going after real criminals does nothing to save lives — nor does keeping innocent people’s names in the database.


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