Controversial NYPD Stop-and-Frisk Program Still Alive
Although new New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to end the New York Police Department’s “Stop-and-Frisk” program, and has now dropped former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s appeal over a court ruling that ruled parts of the program unconstitutional, the program itself is not dead but will merely be “reformed.”
On Thursday, de Blasio announced that the city has reached a settlement with plaintiffs who sued the city over the controversial NYPD program and has dropped the city’s appeal of a 2013 court ruling that deemed the program in violation of people’s Constitutional rights.
“We’re here today to turn the page on one of the most divisive problems in our city,” de Blasio said. “We believe in one city where everyone rises together, respecting every New Yorker’s rights regardless of what neighborhood they live in and color of their skin.”
Turn the page does not mean close the book, however. Rather than end the program, the city has agreed to have a court-appointed official to ensure that the NYPD “reforms” the policy.
Therein lies the problem. There has been no word on what those reforms actually are, just that the city has to get within the legal guidelines. The program isn’t a complicated bureaucratic mess like many government initiatives. It’s simply a policy that allows officers to stop anyone they deem “suspicious” and search them. If that sentence isn’t already on shaky Constitutional ground, it so happens that the NYPD has a tendency to confuse “suspicious” with “minority.” Over the last five years, just 10 percent of those stopped by the NYPD were white. Worse, just 11 percent were actually charged with anything.
The city has had to curtail the program over the past year as a result of last summer’s court ruling. In 2013, the police stopped and searched 159,104 people. In 2012, the NYPD stopped over 532,000 people and in 2011 they searched 685,724 people.
(Image courtesy of Kevin Case)