Police

Ray Kelly Outlines Measures to Curtail the Illegal Police Stops He Says Are Not Occurring

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Last week, after a federal judge certified a class action challenging the NYPD's stop-and-frisk program, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly outlined measures he is taking to curtail the unlawful stops that he says are not occurring. In a letter to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Kelly said "we have republished the Department order that specifically prohibits racial profiling." That's good, because Kelly's cops seem to have lost their copies. Last year, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) reports, 87 percent of the people stopped, questioned, and (most of the time) frisked for nonexistent weapons were black or Latino. Kelly says that's because police are focusing their efforts on high-crime neighborhoods that are disproportionately black and Latino. But as NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman notes in today's New York Daily News, that explanation does not quite fit the facts:

Though they make up only 4.7% of the city's population, black and Latino males between the ages of 14 and 24 accounted for 41.6% of stops in 2011. The number of stops of young black men exceeded the city's entire population of young black men.

The commissioner contends that this happens only because officers go where the crime is. But last year, large percentages of blacks and Latinos were also stopped in overwhelmingly white neighborhoods like Greenwich Village, where 77% of people stopped were black or Latino.

The racially disproportionate impact of the stops is especially troubling because the supposedly suspicious people detained by police are innocent nine times out of 10: Only 10 percent of stops result in an arrest or summons. The hit rate for pat-downs is even less impressive: Only 2 percent find weapons of any kind. Although taking guns off the street is one of the most commonly cited justifications for the stop-and-frisk program, Lieberman notes that "guns are recovered in less than 0.2% of stops—an astonishingly low yield rate for such an intrusive, humiliating and often unlawful tactic." Kelly nevertheless claims the program has saved thousands of lives during the last decade by reducing violent crime, an assertion that Lieberman calls "demonstrably false." She notes that homicides were already falling in New York before Kelly launched the stop-and-frisk program in 2003 and that since then they have declined more quickly in other big cities.

The program's meager results also raise constitutional issues. Under the 1968 Supreme Court decision in Terry v. Ohio, a stop must be based on "reasonable suspicion" that someone has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime, while a frisk is justified only when there is reasonable suspicion that he is armed.How reasonable is a suspicion that is wrong nine times out of 10, let alone 98 times out of 100? These numbers strongly suggest that police routinely ignore the "reasonable suspicion" requirement (as Mayor Michael Bloomberg has implicitly conceded).

But don't worry: Kelly says the department plans to remind police officers of their constitutional duties. It has a new training curriculum that "provides personnel with an additional level of clarity in determining when and how to conduct a lawful stop." It has approved the script for "the fifth and final part in our series of training videos regarding street encounters." Kelly also plans to keep a closer eye on the stop-and-frisk "report worksheets" that cops fill out for each encounter, which indicate the supposed basis for reasonable suspicion. The most popular excuse: "furtive movement." Finally, in an effort to improve community relations, which tend to be undermined by a decade-long program of hassling and searching innocent people with dark skin, the NYPD is encouraging officers to hand out "informational cards" durings stops that "provide a written description of the legal authority for such stops and a list of common reasons individuals are stopped by the police." Here is the short version of the text on the cards: "WHY WE ARE FUCKING WITH YOU: Because we can." 

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  1. They’re really makin “F*** you, that’s why!” cards?

    We have achieved singularity…

    1. I think that was Jacob distilling down the essence of the message.

  2. “No, Sir. You made it clear a moment ago that your men never take matters in to their own hands. Your men follow orders or people die. So Santiago shouldn’t have been in any danger at all, should he have, Colonel?”

  3. It would be nice if, instead of the “racial profiling” angle, they would challenge the tactic on 4th Ammendment grounds. The end result of this won’t be an end to the practice, but just an increase in the number of whites targeted. IOW, even more people will get to have their rights violated by “NY’s finest”. I’m so glad I don’t live in NY.

    1. it would also be nice if those that claimed racial profiling compared the disparate cop stop rates of certain ages, genders, and races WITH the disparate reporting of age, race, and gender as reported by crime VICTIMS in the BJS/NCVS data.

      as has been extensively documented, and i will provide stats upon request, cops stop certain groups disparately (arrest, stop , etc.) but those disparate stops correlate almost exactly with the disparate OFFENDER rates AS REPORTED BY CRIME VICTIMS (not cops…. victims)

      something reason always ignores.

      1. and i will provide stats upon request,

        OK, please do. (I only want stats for NYC, by the way. That is the only city doing this, so national stats will not help. Please show where the stop and frisk stats mirror the offender report stats.)

        1. i don’t only have stats for NYC.

          national stats ARE instructive though.

          unless you have special reason to think NYC bucks national trends.

          if you want national data, ask and i shall provide.

          i do not have NYC specific data.

          the BJS and NCVS have long established that (shocking only to morons) different racial, age, ethnicity, groups commit crimes at different rates

          IF cops are systemically racially profiling, then one would expect to see stop rates that are disparate to OFFENDER rates.

          one would WANT cops stopping people disparately based on offender rates (assuming particularized suspicion), because that evidence fairness NOT bias.

          nobody accuses cops of gender bias because they stop and/or arrest men FAR more often than women, for example

          because for most part I crimes, men OFFEND far more commonly.

          the same is true disparately based on age, race, etc.

          but again, if you want NYC data i can’t help you. the BJS/NCVS data is national and i am happy to provide it

          1. Feck off, butch. You said you would supply stats. Since this is a story about NYC, who gives a bloody rats arse about NATIONAL GODDAMN STATS?

            Now bring me a feckin’ drink!

          2. So what you’re saying is that since some people commit crimes, it’s ok to feck around with all similarly skin-toned people, eh? What a feckin’ idiot.

          3. national stats ARE instructive though.

            Not when we’re discussing a local issue.

            unless you have special reason to think NYC bucks national trends.

            Is “Stop Frisk” done across the nation?

            i do not have NYC specific data.

            Then you have nothing to contribute to the “facts” of this issue. Everything you say on this topic will be treated by me as anecdotal and opinion going forward.

            IF cops are systemically racially profiling, then one would expect to see stop rates that are disparate to OFFENDER rates.

            Yet you (or the NYPD) cannot show us what the offender rate for NYC is.

            one would WANT cops stopping people disparately based on offender rates (assuming particularized suspicion), because that evidence fairness NOT bias.

            Sure we would…once they obtain a warrant for the search and have probable cause to make the stop in the first place. The NYPD has neither in these cases.

            nobody accuses cops of gender bias because they stop and/or arrest men FAR more often than women, for example

            The 4A is supposed to be blind. We can hate it because it’s unconstitutional, not because it targets one race, class or sex.

            because for most part I crimes, men OFFEND far more commonly.

            Are you proposing removing 4A protections for men?

            the same is true disparately based on age, race, etc.

            Or young people? Or blacks? Or other groups?

            I’d offer you a shovel, dunphy, but you seem to be digging that hole just fine by yourself.

      2. So people are being stopped and harassed by armed thugs because of what someone else with the same age/gender/race did something bad? Well, that’s all right then. Carry on.

  4. “Though they make up only 4.7% of the city’s population, black and Latino males between the ages of 14 and 24 accounted for 41.6% of stops in 2011. The number of stops of young black men exceeded the city’s entire population of young black men.”

    the relevant stat, and the one reason ALWAYS ignores is the NCVS data.

    iow, according to VICTIMS of crime, what race/gender are the perpetrators?

    the NCVS data is clear that there is very disparate offender data

    iow, a FAIR article would note that yes, black and latino men between 14 to 24 make up 41.6% of stops and only 4% of population

    but according to NCVS data, what is their OFFENDER rate?

    at least on a nationwide level, there is no argument

    there is vastly disparate offender and also vastly disparate victimization rates for males vs. females, and for certain age groups (not a lot of 60 yr old committing part I crimes for instance), and for certain racial demographics.

    *if* a case is being made that the vastly disparate stop rate is racially motivated, then the vastly disparate rates that the same groups COMMIT crime needs to be addressed, and yet … reason ignores the data.

    this is covered extensively by heather mcdonald of city journal

    two facts are clear: cops stop males more than females (despite the fact that females are a majority), and also disproportionally stop males of certain age groups and racial demographics

    1. however, they do NOT stop them disproportionately to their offender rates AS PER CRIME VICTIMS (not cops… victims) per the NCVS.

      stats available upon request if anybody is interested.

        1. sorry. national stats only

          that is not as good as NYC stats, but i see no reason to suspect that NYC magically bucks national trends when it comes to disparate offender rates based on age, gender, and race

          again, *if* there is systemic profiling, then one would expect rates to be inconsistent with OFFENDER rates, not genereal population %ages

          if cops arrest men for bank robbery 10+times as often as women, nobody accused them of “gender profiling”.

          same concept in regards to race, age, etc. certain groups commit offenses disparately.

          1. Yes, we know. You PROMISED stats upon request, now you’re backsliding like a whimpering pussy.

            So again…you don’t have a feckin’ problem with jackboots screwing around with a large percentage of any skin color or nationality/heritage because SOME members of said groups commit crimes. Jebus… Now where the feck is the drink I ORDERED you to get for me, pussy?

  5. So why aren’t we talking about the rampant gender discrimination?

    1. a point i have made many times.

      it’s because it’s ACCEPTED that yes… men commit (most) crimes far more often than women, specifically part I crimes , crime like burglary, arson, murder, etc.

      nobody accuses cops of gender profiling when stops are made disproportionatley of men over women.

      but people get magically sensitive and assume cops should be stopping people by race and age equal to the representation in the population

      no

      if cops are UNbiased, they would be stopping people consistent with offender data as reported by VICTIMs.

      which, as heather mcdonald’s extensive research and the NCVS/BJS data show – they do

      1. Bias or lack of bias is irrelevant. Regardless of what age/gender/race a person has, they enjoy the same fourth amendment rights as anyone else.

        “Furtive movement”? I call bullshit. This could be anything at all.

  6. Hey Dunphy–I said get me a feckin’ drink, pussy!

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