For every five stops the NYPD makes, they use force. This is a troubling rate, particularly given the heat the department is under for their questionable “stop and frisk” practices. If they are stopping and frisking people under questionable circumstances, and for every five of them, they use force on one, doesn’t it seem as thought NYC’s finest are simply looking for a fight?
According to an analysis from the New York Times, there are pockets within the city where that rate is even worse. In the West Bronx, for instance, force is used in more than two out of five stops.
And perhaps even more frightening, is that these uses of force rarely result in arrests. So, why exactly are they using force?
From the Times:
The four precincts with the highest use of force — the 32nd in Upper Manhattan, the 44th and 46th in the Bronx and the 115th in Jackson Heights, Queens — all include or have included what the police call “impact zones,” violent pockets that the police routinely flood with officers, often in their first assignment out of the academy, in an effort to suppress crime. That combination of putting inexperienced officers in the worst neighborhoods may be one reason that the use of force is so high, residents said.
Not only are young, minority men (especially) worries about getting stopped and hassled by the police, they are worried about being hurt by the cops. And the police wonder why they get no respect on the streets.
Just last month, a federal judge approved a class action lawsuit against the department, accusing them of using race as a basis for stop and frisks. When there are 680,000 stops, as there were last year, and more than 80% of them are against black and Latino men, it seems there is definitely a problem.
The Times interviewed numerous people who were stopped by the NYPD and against whom force was used. For some, simply asking why they were being stopped was enough for the cops to get rough.
The Department supports its officers’ actions, saying how they manage the stop and frisks can reduce crime in the city. And while that may be true, it also reduces any respect these neighborhoods have for the police, creating a potential rift that cannot be healed by a class action lawsuit, a focus group, or sensitivity training.
When you are arrested and feel unfairly targeted, you can feel very alone. The cops are not on your side and the prosecutor certainly isn’t either. You need someone who is dedicated to serving your best interests.