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November 21, 2007, New York, NY – Yesterday, the RAND Corporation issued a report [attached at the bottom of the press release], commissioned by the New York Police Foundation and requested by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, that acknowledges certain racial differences in the NYPD’s raw data concerning stop-and-frisks, but disputes that the NYPD is racially biased in its policing. The Center for Constitutional Rights, which filed the historic racial profiling case Daniels v. City of New York, issued the following statement in response to the report:
“Not surprisingly, the RAND Corporation report released on November 20, 2007, which was commissioned by the New York Police Foundation, attempts to excuse and rubber stamp racial disparities in the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) stop-and-frisk practices.
According to RAND, in 2006, 89 percent of the 508,540 people stopped by the police were non-white. The overwhelming majority of those stops, a shocking 90 percent, did not result in an arrest or the issuance of a summons. RAND’s study lends support to the concern that many of these stops lack the legally required reasonable suspicion of criminal activity required by the Fourth Amendment and that the NYPD’s aggressive stop-and-frisk practices are having a disproportionate impact on people of color.
The RAND report is filled with disinformation: it fails to acknowledge and factor in that the majority of stops are based on subjective criteria and are not tied to alleged criminality. Although RAND states that alleged criminal activity supports the difference in racial disparities as to who is stopped and frisked, RAND recognizes that whites are more likely to be found in possession of contraband, including weapons or drugs. According to RAND, the raw data shows that the rate of black suspects who are subjected to a frisk is 45 percent, but is only 29 percent for whites, even though RAND also points out that “overall, officers are nearly twice as likely to find contraband (e.g., weapons or drugs) when frisking or searching white suspects than they are when frisking or searching black suspects.”
The RAND report also generates other concerns about racial differences in treatment of those suspected of crime. According to RAND, a higher rate of non-white suspects are arrested, rather than issued a summons. This further shows the racial bias that contributes to the way that police officers make decisions on who to arrest.
CCR is currently engaged in an enforcement action against the NYPD concerning its stop-and-frisk policy and procedures, through its landmark racial profiling case, Daniels, et al. v. The City of New York, et al. Daniels resulted in a settlement agreement that forced the City to adopt a policy prohibiting racial profiling, conduct training on the policy, and audit its stop-and-frisk activity.
The RAND report attempts to manipulate the NYPD’s raw data to make excuses for the targeting of people of color in the City. CCR, and the people of New York City, are not so easily fooled by this sleight of hand.”
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.