A database created in 2001 to document racial patterns in the NYPD’s stop-and-frisks was used this week to find four teenagers who allegedly robbed and beat a Mexican immigrant in what the victim is calling a racial attack on Staten Island Monday.
Rolston Hopson, William Marcano and Tyrone Goodman, all 17, and an unnamed 15-year-old were arrested Friday after the Hate Crimes Unit got a tip with the first names and descriptions of the men who hit Rodulfo Olmedo, 26, with planks and stole his wallet and cell phone, allegedly while calling him “a [expletive] Mexican” and “a stupid Mexican.” Hopson, Marcano, and Goodman were all in the database, which documents names, race, and addresses, as a result of what police are calling a “routine stop-and-frisk” in the Port Richmond neighborhood where the attack took place. According to police, the three named suspects are African American, and the unidentified juvenile is Hispanic. They face charges including robbery as a hate crime, assault as a hate crime, gang assault, aggravated harassment, and criminal possession of a weapon.
Stop-and-frisks are street searches by police based on reasonable suspicion rather than the probable cause required for arrest. Almost 600,000 stop-and-frisks happened last year, disproportionately to African-American and Hispanic young men. Names and addresses — which are not required by law to be included in the database — are recorded. Only 6 percent of stop-and-frisks result in arrests. Commissioner Ray Kelly says that the names are kept “indefinitely” and used in investigations.
The NYPD is facing two class action lawsuits over stop-and-frisk, one with the city as co-defendant and another with the New York City Housing Authority class action suit over aggressive police tactics, including stop-and-frisks, in NYCHA public housing projects.