The controversial stop-and-frisk practices of the NYPD show no signs of slowing. According to the N.Y. Times, the department released data outlining the number of stops so far this year, and the numbers are up significantly from last year.
About 203,500 stops were made during the first three months of 2012, up from 183,326 during the same period last year. And despite criticism from citizens and people across the country, the department stands by its practice of stopping and frisking anyone they please.
“I would submit that our strategies are saving lives,” said Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly in the face of criticism. Kelly went on to suggest the disproportionate stopping of minorities was saving the lives of minorities, in a sort-of “this is for your own good,” justification.
Though young black and Hispanic men represent just 4.7% of the population of NYC, they accounted for 41.6% of the stops in 2011.
On Saturday, the City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, said the “dramatic increase” in stops underscored her calls for reform.
“While the N.Y.P.D. should continue to have the ability to stop and frisk people where there is a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, I remain convinced that with better monitoring, supervision and accountability we can avoid the corrosive impact of a poorly targeted program,” Ms. Quinn said in a statement. “We cannot continue to stop, question and frisk nearly 700,000 New Yorkers in this way without doing harm to the relationship between police officers and the people they are protecting, particularly in communities of color.”
The continued overuse of these stop-and-frisk practices is only worsening the relationship between the police and the people they are said to be “protecting.” While no one is saying the police shouldn’t be able to stop and frisk someone where there is evidence of a crime, randomly choosing people because of where they live or how they look is not effective law enforcement.
Among those stopped so far in 2012, only 5% led to arrests and about 5% led to summonses, more common in minor misdemeanor cases or violations. So, do these arrests and criminal summonses justify the rights of hundreds-of-thousands of New Yorkers being violated every year? Not hardly.
When you live in the city, and particularly if you are a young minority male, you know that the chances of you being bothered by the police are pretty great. But, when you are actually arrested and charged with a crime, you may begin to wonder if you can find anyone on your side.
If you are facing criminal charges, contact our offices today. When it feels like no one cares about your side of the story, our attorneys can be there to help.