Civil Liberties

Use a New York Street, Go to a Police Database

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More troubling scenes from Michael Bloomberg's New York, care of the New York Civil Liberties Union:

Surprisingly disappointing poster

The NYPD stopped and interrogated more innocent people during the first six months of 2009 than during any six-month period since the Department began collecting data on its troubling stop-and-frisk program. Police made more than 273,000 stops of completely innocent New Yorkers – the overwhelming majority of whom were black and Latino. Though these innocent people did nothing wrong, their names and home addresses are now stored in an NYPD database. […]

According to an NYPD report obtained and analyzed by the NYCLU this week, police stopped and interrogated New Yorkers 140,552 times between April and June. Nearly nine out of 10 of these stops resulted in no charges or citations. This record number of stops fell disproportionately on the city's communities of color – 74,283 of those stopped were black and 44,296 were Latino, while only 13,906 were white.

The Department made another 171,094 stops between January and March. Overall, this record number of stops represents a 15 percent increase from the 270,937 stops conducted during the first six months of 2008. If stops continue at this pace, the NYPD will conduct a record 610,000 stops in 2009. In 2008, the current record, police stopped New Yorkers 531,159 times.

Over the past five-and-a-half years, New Yorkers have been subjected to the practice more than 2.5 million times – a rate of 1,260 every day. The Department is then recording the name and home address of every person stopped.

Link via Jack Shafer's Twitter page. Jacob Sullum wrote a year ago about New York's "little-noticed crackdown on pot smokers."

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  1. But never forget, Nanny State Dems are so much better on civil liberties than Republicans.

  2. Ihre Papiere, bitte.

  3. Well, how else can they kick down their doors for a joint, shoot their dogs, beat up their moms…without their pertanint info?

  4. Pro,

    Give it a couple of years and you will long for only having to produce your papers. The next big thing will be to take DNA samples from anyone and everyone the police happen to interract with. Then they are going to make passports have biometric information on them and collect it everytime you go out of the country and throw it into the mother of all government databases, the database of databases IDENT. With the kind of information sharing that is going on in this country, within 10 years or so 90% of the population will have their DNA and biometrics in one giant searchable set of databases.

  5. Ihre Papiere, bitte.

    I’m speechless..the Godwin was actually warranted.

  6. go out of the country and throw it into the mother of all government databases, the database of databases IDENT.

    US-IDent?

  7. DNA? Nah, why bother? We’ll have RFID chips implanted in our brains by then.

  8. How did the Statue of Liberty’s head get to midtown Manhattan? THAT MAKES NO SENSE

  9. How did Harry Dean Stanton get Adrienne Barbeau?

  10. Does NY have a law that states you must produce ID??? If not then the convo is simple and i am amazed that the new yorkers dont know basic civil liberties

    cop: you come here
    you: yes officer
    Cop; come here what are you doing
    you: walking, thank you have a nice day
    cop: i said come here who are you
    you: Am i being arrested or detained for cause… well then thank you officer have a nice night, and continue walking, at that point they either have to detain and cuff you for cause, and not speaking to another human is NOT cause, or let you go, plain and simple. I have used it in NOLA before with great success.

  11. How did the Statue of Liberty’s head get to midtown Manhattan? THAT MAKES NO SENSE

    The Cloverfield monster threw it there, moron.

  12. SpongePaul,
    They take advantage of ignorance of people’s rights.

    John,
    You already have to produce papers thanks to the Hiibel case. Guess which wing of the court ruled in favor of having to show ID?

  13. “John,
    You already have to produce papers thanks to the Hiibel case. Guess which wing of the court ruled in favor of having to show ID?”

    So the fact that some court said it could be done relieves Bloomburg of responsibility for this insane policy?

    That is a good example of the kind of atrophy that activists judicary produces. It is not just up to the court to protect our rights. It is up to us. Just because a court says the government may do something, doesn’t relieve the shitbags who go ahead and do that something of responsibility.

  14. The Cloverfield monster threw it there, moron.

    Ha ha, nice joe’z law, Sugarfree. The proper spelling is moran. You’re welcome.

  15. Hey, John, I think that’s where Richard Kelly got the idea from. Thanks for the link.

  16. Could be Spaceballs.

  17. Ha ha, nice joe’z law, Sugarfree. The proper spelling is moran. You’re welcome.

    You will rue the day. Rue!

  18. ART,

    As you know I am a member of the vast right wing conspiracy. I do a fair amount of work on IDENT. And frankly it gives me the willies. I really don’t like that program.

  19. “Rue the day?” Who talks like that?

  20. So the fact that some court said it could be done relieves Bloomburg of responsibility for this insane policy?

    The fact that the SCOTUS ruled that it’s not a violation of the 4th Amendment is why Bloomberg can get away with it. I have no love for Bloomberg, but the supposedly “strict constructionist” wing of the court upheld stop and identify laws and NY is one of the 24 S&I states.

  21. Michael Nutter campaigned on a stop & frisk policy here in Philly. Given our murder & shooting rates, most of the city thought it was the most awesomest thing evar, and I’m pretty convinced it was the biggest reason he won the Democratic primary. I don’t know what happened to the policy; last I heard, the ACLU was reviewing it to see if there was any way it could work. I think it wound up falling to the wayside, which isn’t surprising considering that Philly is broke and City Council is considering a bunch of temporary tax increases. (This includes, IIRC, a sales tax increase of one percentage point, which would bring us up to 8%. Hey Dems, way to support poor people!)

  22. “Rue the day?” Who talks like that?

    Stewie Griffin. And SugarFree.

  23. “”Rue the day?” Who talks like that?”

    iCarly’s nemesis.

  24. This record number of stops fell disproportionately on the city’s communities of color – 74,283 of those stopped were black and 44,296 were Latino, while only 13,906 were white.

    I only have one minor quibble with this approach. News agencies will compartmentalize this as a racial profiling problem, not a civil liberties problem. Ie, it’s not the searches we have trouble with, it’s that they fall disproportionately on people of color. I understand that the NYCLU frames the story this way because the mainstream media brain is wired to only think in these terms. But still…

  25. Paul,

    By giving white males civil liberties, you but ensure their dominance over historically oppressed minorities.

  26. Good point Paul. Their sollution will be to just search a bunch more white people so the numbers even out. Somehow that doesn’t make me feel any better.

  27. John–not sure if they’ll go so far as to search more white people, at least not wealthy or middle class ones. The police here in Atlanta love to stop and frisk poor black people for no good reason. If they tried that shit in affluent, white neighborhoods then voters would demand the police chief’s head on a platter.

    Or maybe I’m too optimistic?

  28. racists

  29. But I thought random police stops of peaceful civilians and requests for “your papers, please” were exceedingly rare, and libertarians were wildly exaggerating their rate of occurrence based on a few high-profile cases, like the recent heavy-handed detention of Bob Dylan for walking down a New Jersey street!

  30. like the recent heavy-handed detention of Bob Dylan for walking down a New Jersey street!

    Bob Dylan deserves it. Quit bitching on his behalf.

  31. Craig | August 17, 2009, 6:06pm | #

    But I thought random police stops of peaceful civilians and requests for “your papers, please” were exceedingly rare

    Matt’s post mentions only New York City, where about one in 15 people might be stopped this year. It makes no mention of the country as a whole, most of which is small-town or rural. I doubt that one in 15 people are being stopped in Mayberry or Danfield. So yes, I’d say that, statistically, measured nationwide, police stops of the sort mentioned in the post are indeed rare.

  32. I heard zat Bob Dylan’s papahs ver not in ordah.

  33. Not that Bloomberg isn’t a tool.

  34. Uh, didn’t Hiibel just say that laws requiring you to tell the police your name were constitutional? I don’t recall it saying that laws requiring you to produce identification documents were OK.

  35. It seems that one would almost have more rights in 1960s era Ukraine.

  36. I’m a bit confused about the scary “in a database” reference. What’s in this database besides a name and address, which are already in that big “phone book” database?

    Not that I’d cooperate, but — what am I missing here?

  37. I often criticize retards for playing the race card, but this shit validates some of it. I mean WTF.

    I wish more people in NYC carried a gun just for situations like this and said “No officer, you have no right to search me. Go about your business, and if you refuse to, you are under arrest.” If they refuse arrest, put a few holes in them and then cut off their head and shit down their throat and deliver it to Bloomberg’s office.

    That’s change I can believe in.

  38. For some reason I’m picturing JB as the tall bald bucktoothed biker on Wildhogs.

  39. Paul,

    By giving white males civil liberties, you but ensure their dominance over historically oppressed minorities.

    Was this mockery? Because it’s actually true.

    This data is not about asking people for identification. This is about stop and FRISK.

    Stopping minorities while letting whites walk on by means that arrests that arise from the stops will fall more heavily on minorities, even when illegal conduct is indulged in equally across racial lines [like marijuana possession, for example].

    You don’t think that has a huge impact on the future social status of the people stopped, vs. the people not stopped?

    Think of it this way: if one additional guy was randomly stopped outside Columbia University on a day when he had a joint in his pocket, we’d have a different President of the United States right now.

  40. Stopping minorities while letting whites walk on by means that arrests that arise from the stops will fall more heavily on minorities, even when illegal conduct is indulged in equally across racial lines [like marijuana possession, for example].

    You don’t think that has a huge impact on the future social status of the people stopped, vs. the people not stopped?

    Of course it does, but that doesn’t change my original point. If you’re only stopping black people unconstitutionally, and our 3-ring-circus media (Washington/Environment/Race) can only find this to be a race problem, in the end, we’re all equally fucked.

  41. SpongePaul,
    They take advantage of ignorance of people’s rights.

    John,
    You already have to produce papers thanks to the Hiibel case. Guess which wing of the court ruled in favor of having to show ID?

    It’s not (only) ignorance of one’s rights, it’s the professed stance that if you don’t do what the nice officer tells you, you may wind up with more holes in your body than you started out the day with.

  42. Last time I was in NYC, a cop asked for my ID. I told him that I was Snake Plissken. And he just said, “I heard you were dead,” and let me go.

  43. Ghuliani 911 started this crap. And some people were trying to call him libertarian.

  44. I think at some point we have to ask ourselves why, exactly, NYC got its outsized reputation for increased safety.

    After all, in statistical terms, the drop in crime NYC experienced was not that much greater than the drop in crime rates experienced EVERYWHERE in the US over the same period. But even though crime was falling by about the same amount everywhere, most Americans defied the statistics and felt less safe, while New Yorkers went against the grain and felt more safe.

    Now, maybe New Yorkers are just more reasonable than all other Americans, so they had the correct reaction to the statistical change while everyone else had the wrong reaction. That’s one possibility.

    Or maybe, just maybe, New Yorkers felt an outsized reaction to the statistical decline in crime because the decline in crime was accompanied by a decline in the number of visible young male blacks and hispanics, as those young male blacks and hispanics were imprisoned for trivial and victimless crimes – and because the police could routinely be seen administratively harassing the young male blacks and hispanics that remained. So the “extra safety feeling” arose because affluent New Yorkers didn’t have to see as many scary dark faces, and because affluent New Yorkers were confident that a jackboot was pretty much permanently affixed to the neck of the young dark people they COULD see. The “police theatre” of abuse of people of color may have leveraged the impact of the actual statistical increase in safety.

  45. “””I think at some point we have to ask ourselves why, exactly, NYC got its outsized reputation for increased safety.”””

    What make you think it’s outsized?

    NYC got a hell of a lot safer over the last 18 years. That’s a fact.

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