Two studies have slammed assumptions about stop-and-frisk’s effectiveness this week. On Wednesday, an NYCLU report showed that black New Yorkers have been disproportionally stopped for suspected possession of marijuana, with cops wrong about that suspicion 91.5 percent of the time. Another report put out by the public advocate this week shows that white New Yorkers, when stopped, are actually far more likely to possess a weapon than African-Americans.
In 2011 and 2012, it “took nearly two times the amount of stops of black New Yorkers to find a weapon when compared to stops of white New Yorkers,” according to the report. The numbers in the table below pretty much sum up the situation:
Yet while the number of overall stops have decreased over the past two years, the proportion of black and Latino stops (85 percent) has remained stable.
The data would suggest that for all Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s talk about stop-and-frisk saving lives, the practice of stopping young black New Yorkers at an absurdly higher rate than whites is statistically misguided. This does not bode well for stop-and-frisk’s constitutional argument.