NEW YORK, Sept. 27, 2016 – The Center for Constitutional Rights, which argued and won the landmark case in New York City challenging the NYPD’s unconstitutional and racially discriminatory stop-and-frisk practices, issued the following statement:
A federal court found stop and frisk as practiced in New York City both unconstitutional and racially discriminatory in 2013 in our landmark case Floyd v. City of New York. Stop and frisk has long alienated the city’s Black and Latino communities – who continue to this day to be disproportionately targeted, even with lower rates of stops over all – and contributed heavily to their sense of being under siege and their distrust of the police. No one argues these facts.
There are those who argue that stop and frisk is nonetheless effective, yet that has never been shown to be the case by a single credible study.
As stops in New York rose to a record high of 685,000 in 2011, crime fell both in the city and across the country, even in cities without a stop-and-frisk policy. In 2011 in New York, with 685,000 stops, records show 106,669 major felonies. There were dire warnings about how crime would soar if police were forced to cease using stop and frisk in the way they had, yet, in 2015, with only 23,000 stops, just 3.36 percent of the number four years earlier, the records show fewer major felonies: 105,453 to be exact. There were 515 murders in 2011 and 356 in 2015, the last complete year of statistics.
The vast majority of those stopped did nothing wrong, received no summons, were not arrested or found with contraband; in 2012, the last year before the trial, only 5 percent of stops resulted in summons, 6 percent resulted in arrests, and 0.15 percent resulted in the confiscation of guns. In fact, in one comparison, the rate of illegal guns turned up by stops was no higher than that at a random checkpoint. Hundreds of thousands of these stops did not rise to the level of probable cause or even reasonable suspicion; rather, as the federal court found, they were the result of racial profiling.
The Black men and women killed by police again and again, from Ferguson to Charlotte, are victims of the very same systemic racial bias.
A host of court-ordered reforms of the NYPD from top to bottom are underway. No one misses the days of stop and frisk in New York. It is not a policy that should be expanded in any other city.
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.