Race and Policing
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Beginning in early 2021, the Raza Database Project, a team of volunteer researchers, journalists, family members of Latinos killed by police, and activists came together to investigate a long-suspected undercount of the deaths of Latinos and other people of color by or in the custody of law enforcement. The Project's Director, Roberto "Dr. Cintli" Rodríguez, himself a survivor of police abuse, began his inquiry into thesubject in 2016 by comparing well-known Hispanic surnames with the names of individuals reported in the "White," "Other," and "Unknown" categories of national databases of police killings that were created following the shooting of Michael Brown in 2014. His initial inquiry concluded that deaths of Latino and Indigenous people at the hands of police were under-counted in widely reported national databases by a quarter to one-third. He also called attention to media narrativesthat virtually ignored the killings of Latinos by law enforcement, even in Southern California, the largest Hispanic media market in the country.
Body cameras are rapidly becoming the norm in communities across the country. Campaign Zero reviewed available police department body camera policies from the largest 30 cities in America to determine whether this new technology is being implemented in ways that ensure accountability and fairness while protecting communities from surveillance.
In 2019, New York enacted historic pretrial reforms that will result in a dramatic reduction in pretrial detention populations across the state by eliminating bail and pretrial detention for most misdemeanors and non-violentfelonies. That means, in most cases, a person's liberty will not depend on how much money they have.
Fact sheet about bail reform in New York, including how the law will affect New Yorkers, as well as the hard data illustrating the personal, economic and systemic impact of money bail and pretrial jailing on individuals, families and communities.
Across New York State tens of thousands of New Yorkers are held in city and county jails, not because they have been convicted of a crime, but because they cannot afford to pay for their release while awaiting trial.The harms of unaffordable cash bail are unequivocal: people lose their jobs, homes and families while detained. People also forfeit their rights to trial when pleading guilty in exchange for release. Yet little has been known about how many people across the state have been locked up because they did not have the means to pay bail, about the charges they faced or how long they were kept in jail.To better understand the impact of bail practices in New York, in 2015 the New York Civil Liberties Union sent Freedom of Information Law requests to a sample of eight small, medium and large counties across the state asking for five years of data. The information we received offers a stark glimpse into what New Yorkers have had to endure.
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.
The Student Safety Act (SSA) requires that the New York City Police Department publically issue quarterly reports on arrests, summonses, and other police-involved incidents in New York City public schools. The 2016 calendar year marked the first time that the NYPD reported on activity by officers outside of the School Safety Division, giving a more complete picture of the enormous impact police have on the educational environment. Since 2012, the number of arrests and summonses issued by School Safety Officers (SSOs) has consistently declined. However, in 2016, SS0s were responsible for less than 12% of arrests and 2% of summonses. Thus, this decline in reported incidents is only a fraction of the picture. 2016 is the first year for which school-based incidents involving not only SSOs, but all NYPD personnel, were reported.
The work of law enforcement involves countless low-visibility duties that are often risky, challenging, and dangerous. Over the last three years, however, members of the public have brought increased attention to incidents of police-community conflict, violence, and misconduct, sparked by several high-profile deaths of people of color, many of them unarmed, during seemingly routine police encounters. These incidents—many of which were captured unfiltered on video and widely disseminated—have resulted in scrutiny of police officer behavior and, in particular, have reignited a debate over the extent to which police may use deadly force against civilians. The ensuing public attention has also signaled a marked erosion in police-community relations and perceptions of police legitimacy and accountability. At the same time, killings of police officers in New York City, Dallas, and Baton Rouge increased concerns about officer safety. To address these issues, localities, states, and the federal government have begun to examine ways to increase public confidence and police safety. In all, 34 states and the District of Columbia enacted at least 79 bills, executive orders, or resolutions in 2015 and 2016 to change some aspect of policing policy or practice—a marked contrast to the relatively few laws related to policing that were passed by states between 2012 and 2014.
"Terry Stops," based on reasonable suspicion, have been sanctioned and used by law enforcement since 1968 when the U.S. Supreme Court decided Terry v. Ohio (392 U.S. 1 (1968)). When performed in the manner authorized by the courts, Terry Stops remain a Constitutional practice today.In 2013, a federal district court ruled in Floyd, et al. v. City of New York, et al., that the manner in which the New York City Police Department (NYPD) applied the tactic between January 2004 and June of 2012 violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment and thus was unconstitutional.The use of "Stop, Question and Frisk" (SQF) as a crime reduction or deterrence strategy has been scientifcally studied. Weisburd, et al. (2016) analyzed data on NYPD's SQFs from 2006 to 2011 and found these stops "produce a modest deterrent effect on crime", citing a likely 2% (two percent) reduction attributable to SQF. The study notes "We think it is time for scholars to recognize that SQFs focused on microgeographic hot spots are likely to reduce crime." The study noted the less positive findings of other studies that considered the impact of SQF in larger geographic areas such as precinct and city-level, gun recoveries, etc.Extremely important however, is the study's further conclusion, noting that the broad application and use of SQF is highly objectionable by many, exacerbates our crisis of legitimacy and trust, and is likely not worth the social and operational costs to implement broadly. Agencies should review all of the evidence before considering the use of SQF as a deterrence strategy, particularly when other effective options exist.
This fact sheet provides data on the effect of "stop-and-frisk" on crime in New York City, updating an earlier Brennan Center analysis. Stop-and-frisk was a police practice under which officers stopped and searched citizens, allegedly without the reasonable suspicion required for these interventions. Concerns about the program first arose under Mayor Rudy Giuliani, during William J. Bratton's first tenure as police commissioner. After growing slowly in the early 2000s, stop-and-frisk began to rapidly increase in 2006, when there were 500,000 stops citywide. By 2011 the number peaked at 685,000. It then began to fall, first to 533,000 stops in 2012. Stop-and-frisk became a central issue in the 2013 city mayoral race because of a concern that the program unconstitutionally targeted communities of color. The program's supporters disputed this, insisting that stop-and-frisk was essential for fighting crime in such a huge city. In August 2013, federal district court judge Shira Scheindlin found that stop-and-frisk was unconstitutional. The stop-and-frisk era formally drew to a close in January 2014, when newly-elected Mayor Bill de Blasio settled the litigation and ended the program. Given this large-scale effort, one might expect crime generally, and murder specifically, to increase as stops tapered off between 2012 and 2014. Instead, as shown below, the murder rate fell while the number of stops declined. In fact, the biggest fall occurred precisely when the number of stops also fell by a large amount — in 2013.
This document summarizes the findings of the AP-NORC Center's survey regarding race and policing. Some of the key findings include: 1) Black Americans are nearly four times as likely as whites to describe violence against civilians by police officers as an extremely or very serious problem.2) More than 80 percent of blacks say police are too quick to use deadly force and they are more likely to use it against a black person. Two-thirds of whites label police use of deadly force as necessary and 58 percent say race is not a factor in decisions to use force.3) There is support among both blacks and whites for many changes in policies and procedures that could be effective in reducing tensions between law enforcement and minorities and limiting police violence against civilians. For example, 71 percent say body cameras on police would be an effective deterrent to violence against civilians and 52 percent think community policing programs would help reduce tensions in minority communities.
Since 9/11, (actual or perceived) Muslims, Arabs and South Asians have been viewed by law enforcement as a potential threat on no basis other than religion, casting guilt on all members of that faith.The New York City Police Department (NYPD) has developed a sweeping and secretive human surveillance program that targets Muslims and members of the Arab and South Asian communities in New York City, New Jersey, and elsewhere – solely on the basis of their religious affiliation.This massive mapping and surveillance program has been used to monitor the lives of Muslims, their businesses, houses of worship, organizations and schools – despite any basis for belief of criminal activity.