After much concern from nonprofit groups like the NY Civil Liberties Union (and public outcry), the NYPD has finally released the numbers of their precinct and racial demographics of all the 2011 stop-and-frisks. Emerging accounts and audio have indicated a high order of racial profiling, and the results of NYPD’s own internal reporting confirms that this bias exists in practice.
Ninety percent of stops in all of the city were of black and Latino people, and many of the neighborhoods with the most stops are majority black or Hispanic.
Brooklyn’s 75th precinct, covering East New York and Cypress Hills, ranked first, with 31,000 stops. Ninety-seven percent where of blacks and Latinos. In second came BK’s 73rd precinct, covering Brownsville, which logged 25,167 stops, 98 percent of which were against people of color. Queens’s 115th precinct, covering East Elmhurst Corona and Jackson Heights, came in third with 18,156, 93 percent were of blacks and Latinos. And in fourth was the Bronx’s 40th, covering Mott Haven, with 98 percent of stops agains blacks and Latinos.
The department, unsurprisingly, is claiming that no racial profiling is involved. “We’re constantly accused, unfairly, of racism, like we’re looking only to stop minorities,” said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne. “That is not true. Are there more stops in [East New York] than in Riverdale? Yes. Why? Because there is more crime there and because we put more resources into that precinct.”
You’ll recall how last year the Nation reported on a disturbing account of racism during a stop-and-frisk. The recording is a rare capture of an all-too-common practice. The importance of keeping these forces accountable cannot be overstated, as vague laws are interpreted to result in the criminalization and terrorizing of the very people they are sworn to protect.