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Report Shows Stop and Frisk Rights Violations Continue

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Nearly 100,000 Stops Appear Unconstitutional

press@ccrjustice.org

December 12, 2012, New York –Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) released a report analyzing the New York City Police Department’s stop-and-frisk data for January 2010 through June 2012. The report shows that the constitutional violations detailed in an earlier report covering 2004 through 2009 have continued unabated through the first half of this year. Both reports were prepared for CCR’s landmark class action lawsuit challenging the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy, Floyd, et al. v. City of New York, et al 

“What was true from 2004 through 2009 continues to be true for 2010 through 2012: the discriminatory and unconstitutional nature of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy has gone unchanged,” said Center for Constitutional Rights staff attorney Darius Charney. “Clearly the NYPD has a problem, and it has thus far been unwilling and unable to address it. This report underscores the need for independent oversight to ensure that the NYPD respects the rights of all New Yorkers.”
 
“This report demonstrates the importance of vigilant federal court oversight of agencies like the New York City Police Department, which, despite this most recent and other reports, continues to engage in constitutional violations on a massive and unprecedented scale,” said Jonathan Moore, partner at the law firm of Beldock, Levine, & Hoffman, LLP, who is CCR’s co-counsel in Floyd.
 
According to the report, Blacks and Latinos constitute 84% of all stops, a far higher percentage than their proportion of the city’s population, and they are significantly more likely to be stopped than whites, even after crime rates, local social conditions, and concentrations of police are taken into account. The report further shows that, based on the information recorded on NYPD stop-and-frisk forms by police officers themselves, more than 95,000 stops lacked reasonable articulable suspicion and therefore violated the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. Only 6% of stops result in arrests, only 1.8% in seizure of contraband, and only .12% in seizure of weapons.
 
Although the overall number of stops decreased between April and September 2012, the extremely high racial disparities and extremely low rates of arrest and weapons recovery remained the same.  Moreover, the number of stops recorded between January 1 and March 31, 2012 was the highest of any calendar quarter on record. 
 
This report was researched and prepared by Dr. Jeffrey Fagan, professor of law and public health at Columbia University, senior research scholar at Yale Law School and formerly a Fellow of the Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law and Justice at NYU Law School. He will serve as the testifying expert for the plaintiffs at trial in the Floyd case, which will begin in March. Dr. Fagan is also the author of the earlier report on the 2004-2009 period, which remains the most comprehensive statistical analysis ever done on the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk data.
 
To view the report released today, covering 2010 through 2012, click here. Read a summary of the report here.
 
CCR’s lawsuit is Floyd, et al. v. City of New York, et al. It alleges that the NYPD has engaged in racial profiling and suspicion-less stops of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. In May, 2012, Federal District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin certified Floyd as a class action lawsuit. Bedlock, Levine & Hoffman, and Covington &Burling, are co-counsel in the case.

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.