Thursday, April 12, 2012

CM James Commends NYS Attorney General On Analyzing NYPD’s Stop-and-Frisk Policy

April 11, 2012

Contact: Aja Worthy-Davis at (212) 788-7081

Council Member Letitia James Commends NYS Attorney General On Analyzing NYPD’s Stop-and-Frisk Policy

(New York, NY)— On April 11, 2012, multiple media sources reported that a “working group” has been formed inside New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office, with the purpose of reviewing the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) stop-and-frisk policy. Reportedly, the working group was formed to analyze data— including ethnic and racial breakdowns of those searched— to determine whether a more comprehensive analysis of the policy is necessary.

The previous comprehensive report completed on stop-and-frisk was done in 1999 by former Attorney General (AG) Eliot Spitzer. Council Member Letitia James— then the Assistant AG overseeing the Brooklyn Regional Office and one of the attorneys working in the AG’s Civil Rights Bureau— worked on that report, which concluded that at the time African American New Yorkers constituted 50% of NYPD stops, Latinos constituted 33% of stops, and White residents constituted 13% of stops.

In 2011, the statistics show that 87% of the NYPD’s almost 700,000 stop-and-frisks involved Black and Latino persons; only 12% of those stops resulted in arrests, and less than 1% of those stops resulted in an arrest for weapon possession or an otherwise violent crime. Council Member Letitia James has joined many of her colleagues in criticizing the stop-and-frisk policy as one that forges distrust between the department and minority communities. 

“I commend Attorney General Schneiderman for looking into the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy,” said Council Member Letitia James. “Unfortunately, in the face of widespread criticism and evidence that stop-and-frisk violates the constitutional rights of an overwhelming number of innocent individuals with minimal results, the administration continues to champion this approach. I hope that AG Schneiderman takes action if his investigations mirror the current evidence and data available.”

Council Member James has further urged Mayor Bloomberg to appoint an independent commission to investigate corruption within the NYPD, and relocate the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau to the NYC Department of Investigations.


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