This isn’t exactly an anniversary worth celebrating.
Yesterday, if the rates went as usual, the Boys in Blue have conducted their five millionth (yes, you read that correctly) stop-and-frisk. This performance can be traced by juxtaposing the activity in the first year of the Bloomberg administration with the more present day: in 2002, 97,296 stops were conducted; in 2012, our designated “Year of Stop & Frisk,” the City’s denizens were subject to 533,042.
And, as we all know by now, those numbers continue to be drastically skewed towards minorities; the New York Civil Liberties Union, who first announced the ‘landmark’ for the terribly controversial (and quasi-unconstitutional) practice, provided that some 86 percent of those stopped and frisked were either black or Latino. And, for unjust continuity, 88 percent had no summons or arrest to their name; in other words, they (legally) were as innocent as everyone else.
NYPD Commish Ray Kelly has said in the past that our consistently safe streets over the Bloomberg years can be attributed to the practice. The Mayor, as well, has defended stop and frisk as a gleaming success. Maybe not for the 5 million victims but you know what he means…
As of last year’s census, there are 8,000,000 people or so who call themselves ‘New Yorkers’ or residents of the Big Apple. Although it’s known that many of those stop and frisked were confronted multiple times each, these stats provide that, theoretically, the agency has stopped more than half of New York City’s population. Read that again: more than half.
The NYPD has gone on a rampage of ensuring that anyone and everyone even remotely suspicious is frisked for the community’s protection. The additional fact that 88 percent (4.4 millon, if we do the math) were innocent attests to this universal coverage thing.
On Monday, the City will hear another case regarding the practice brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights, Floyd v. The City Of New York. Its decision could have sweeping implications for the law enforcement agency and City’s crime-fighting procedures as a whole.
Hopefully, everyone in that courtroom will keep the 5 million mark in mind.