Race and Policing
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In August 2013, a federal judge found that the New York Police Department (NYPD) had engaged in a widespread practice of unconstitutional and racially discriminatory stops and frisks and ordered a collaborative, joint remedial process (JRP) to develop a set of reforms that will help bring the NYPD's stop-and-frisk practices into compliance with the Constitution. The judge highlighted the importance of getting this input, writing at the time, "No amount of legal or policing expertise can replace a community's understanding of the likely practical consequences of reforms in terms of both liberty and safety." The JRP ensures that communities who have been directly affected by these practices will have direct input into shaping the future of stop and frisk in New York. The JRP was envisioned to solicit ideas for additional reforms from communities most impacted by stops and frisks. In addition to community stakeholders, the process will involve the City, members of law enforcement, local elected officials, organizations with expertise in policing and criminal justice attorneys representing the plaintiffs. This process echoes a similar process successfully implemented in Cincinnati, Ohio over a decade ago to address systemic abusive and biased policing practices. Guiding this process is the court-appointed Facilitator, Hon. Ariel Belen.
Independent consultant and former U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys released his first semiannual report pursuant to the 2015 investigatory stop and protective pat down agreement between the City of Chicago, Chicago Police Department and the ACLU of Illinois.
The Blue Ribbon Panel on Transparency, Accountability, and Fairness in Law Enforcement (the Panel) was established as an advisory body to the San Francisco District Attorney in May 2015 in the wake of revelations that 14 San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) officers had exchanged numerous racist and homophobic text messages. Over a one-year period, the Panel examined a number of different aspects of the SFPD to try to develop a comprehensive understanding of the issue, interviewing more than 100 witnesses and reviewing thousands of public documents. The result is this report. Its findings and recommendations strive to give credit where credit is due, but point to several unmistakable conclusions: the SFPD is in need of greater transparency; lacks robust oversight; must rebuild trust with the communities it serves; and should pay greater attention to issues of bias against people of color, both officers and members of the public. In short, the Panel concludes that the SFPD is in urgent need of important reforms.
Social justice issues remain some of the most pressing problems in the United States. One aspect of social justice involves the differential treatment of demographic groups in the criminal justice system. While data consistently show that Blacks and Hispanics are often treated differently than Whites, one understudied aspect of these disparities is how police officers' assessments of suspects' size affects their decisions. Using over 3 million cases from the New York Police Department (NYPD) Stop, Question, and Frisk (SQF) Database, 2006–2013, this study is the first to explore suspects' race, perceived size, and police treatment. Results indicate that tall and heavy black and Hispanic men are at the greatest risk for frisk or search. Tall and heavy suspects are at increased risk for experiencing police force, with black and Hispanic men being more likely to experience force than white men across size categories.
For years, those who questioned the NYPD's vast stop-and-frisk program were told by its supporters that it was an essential crime fighting tool. But four years after stop-and-frisk's peak of nearly 700,000 stops in 2011, an analysis of NYPD data shows serious crimes have fallen significantly, as stop-and-frisks have declined drastically. This analysis dispels the myth that the massive, discriminatory stop-and-frisk program was necessary to keep New York safe.
The report, authored by researchers from Columbia, Rutgers and the University of Massachusetts, analyzed 200,000+ encounters between BPD officers and civilians from 2007–2010. It is intended to provide a factual basis to assess the implementation of proactive policing in Boston and how it affects Boston's diverse neighborhoods. It found racial disparities in the Boston Police Department's stop-and-frisks that could not be explained by crime or other non-race factors. Blacks during that period were the subjects of 63.3% of police-civilian encounters, although less than a quarter of the city's population is Black.
This report shows that the Chicago Police Department has a current practice of unlawfully using stop and frisk. Stop and frisk is disproportionately concentrated in the black community. Comparing stops to population, Chicagoans were stopped more than four times as often as New Yorkers at the height of New York City's stop and frisk practice. In the face of a systemic abuse of this law enforcement practice, Chicago refuses to keep adequate data about its officers' stops. The lack of data collection is a major impediment to understanding how stop and frisk policy is actually carried out on the streets. The report contains several improvements need to be made to provide greater transparency and make it possible for supervisors to fully review stops and frisks.
Boston Police Department (BPD) officers have engaged in widespread racially biased "stop-andfrisk" practices, according to a preliminary statistical analysis of four years of BPD police-civilian encounter reports. The analysis found that Blacks were subjected to 63% of these encounters, even though they made up just 24% of Boston's population. The analysis also showed that crime—whether measured by neighborhood crime rates or the arrest records or alleged gang involvement of the civilians subjected to these encounters—does not explain away this racial disparity. Finally, the BPD seems unable to prove that its stop-and-frisk tactics were effective in fighting crime.
The report provides a critical analysis of advocacy efforts to end racial profiling in New York, offering lessons learned and recommendations for advocates across the country. It also contains a review of every state racial profiling law, breaking each down to better understand the law's effectiveness and to identify where improvements are needed. The report concludes with several resources to help advocates build and manage campaigns to increase police accountability and enact community policing strategies that eliminate the practice of racial profiling by law enforcement.
This study constitutes the first public analysis of stop-and-frisk practices in Newark. The study compares Newark to its close neighbor to the east, New York City. While six months of stop-and-frisk data is insufficient to draw definitive conclusions about the Newark Police Department's stop-and-frisk practices, the ACLU-NJ believes that the initial concerns raised by these data are strong enough to warrant corrective actions now. This study has three primary findings: 1) High volume of stop-and-frisks; 2) Black Newarkers bear the disproportionate brunt of stop-and-frisks; 3) The majority of people stopped are innocent. The study concludes with a series of recommendations for greater compliance with the Newark Police Department's Transparency Policy and for ensuring that stop-and-frisk abuses do not take place. An Appendix is also included with additional data on stop-and-frisk activities in Newark, including by precinct, age, and sex.
This report discloses detailed information about all aspects of the NYPD's stop-and-frisk program, including detailed breakdowns by precinct. New to this report is an analysis of marijuana-related aspects of the NYPD's stop-and-frisk regime.
After hearing numerous complaints of police abuse and misconduct against LGBTQ people in Jackson Heights, Queens, Make the Road New York (with help from the Anti-Violence Project) surveyed over 300 Queens residents about their experiences with police in the neighborhood. The survey findings and individual testimonies reveal a disturbing and systemic pattern of police harassment, violence, and intimidation directed at LGBTQ community members. The discriminatory use of "stop and frisks" in the policing of communities of color has been well documented -- the 110th and 115th precincts that are responsible for policing Jackson Heights had 90%-93% rates of stop and frisk activity towards people of color in 2011. Our survey reveals, however, that within this community LGBTQ people of color are particularly targeted.