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531,000 New Yorkers Stopped and Frisked in 2008: Numbers Show Shocking Racial Disparities
February 11, 2009, New York – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) responded to new data released to the City Council by the New York City Police Department showing the final total of stop-and-frisks for 2008 to be a record 531,159, over 80% of which were of Black and Latino New Yorkers. The NYPD is required to keep a database of its stop-and-frisks as a result of CCR’s 1999 racial profiling lawsuit filed in the wake of the Amadou Diallo shooting, Daniels v. City of New York.
A ruling last September by U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin required the NYPD to turn over all stop-and-frisk data from 1998 through the present in relation to a second class action racial profiling lawsuit filed by the Center in early 2008, Floyd v. City of New York. This is the first time this data has been made publicly available. Last month, CCR released a preliminary analysis of the years 2005 through the first half of 2008, the years covered in the case, Floyd v. City of New York.
“The record number of New Yorkers being stopped-and-frisked is a quality of life issue for all New Yorkers and the targeting of African-American and Latino City residents creates a climate of fear, aggression and distrust, particularly in communities of color,” said CCR attorney Darius Charney. “These numbers tell us there is a significant need for reform and oversight of the NYPD to end its racially-biased policing.”
The number of New Yorkers who were stopped-and-frisked by police last year rose by 62,227, up from 468,932 in 2007, with the racial breakdown remaining relatively constant. CCR’s report analyzed nearly 1,600,000 NYPD stops of New Yorkers. From 2005 through 2008, approximately 80 percent of total stops made were of Blacks and Latinos, who comprise 25 percent and 28 percent of New York City’s total population, respectively. During this same time period, only approximately 10 percent of stops were of Whites, who comprise 44 percent of the city’s population.
Results show that Blacks and Latinos are significantly more likely to be stopped by the police than Whites; that Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be frisked after a NYPD-initiated stop than Whites; and that Blacks and Latinos are more likely to have physical force used against them during a NYPD-initiated stop than Whites. Yet the rates of summons and arrests from all stops is not only extremely low, but nearly the same across racial categories.
On January 31, 2008, CCR and the law firms of Beldock, Levine & Hoffman and Covington & Burling filed a class action lawsuit charging the NYPD with engaging in racial profiling and suspicionless stops-and-frisks of New Yorkers. In April, CCR served discovery requests on the City seeking production of the NYPD’s stop and frisk data for the last ten years. According to CCR attorneys, the named plaintiffs in the case – David Floyd, Lalit Clarkson, Deion Dennis, and David Ourlicht – represent the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who over the last several years have been stopped on the way to work, in front of their house, or just walking down the street, without any cause, primarily because they were men of color.
Police stops-and-frisks without reasonable suspicion violate the Fourth Amendment, and racial profiling is a violation of fundamental rights and protections of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Copies of the report and the complete data are available at CCR's report on stop and frisks. For more case information, visit the Floyd, et al. v. City of New York, et al case page.
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.