The New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk program is demonstrably ineffective and damaging to police reputation. Now it comes to light that stop-and-frisk is also very expensive. The New York City taxpayers paid a total of $22.8 million to end 35 lawsuits against the NYPD worth over $100,000 each in the past year, DNAinfo reports.
The NYPD has been hit with lawsuit after lawsuit claiming police violated civil rights between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012. Examples include a 12-year-old girl arrested for doodling on her desk with a green erasable marker and a 38-year-old veteran who was punched and pepper-sprayed while discussing Memorial Day barbecue plans with friends on a street corner. The two plaintiffs received $115,000 and $324,000 respectively. A class-action lawsuit accusing police of illegally arresting people for loitering cost the city $15 million.
Unsurprisingly, the settlements coincide with a rise in civil rights complaints:
The payments also come as accusations of civil rights violations have risen in recent years, according to the city comptroller’s office. Between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2011, 2,241 civil rights claims were filed against the NYPD — up 23 percent from the 1,826 claims filed a year earlier.
The city’s overzealous stop-and-frisk program is notorious for its disproportionate targeting of young black and Latino men. The number of police stops has increased 600 percent since 2002, and in 2011 alone, the NYPD stopped young black men more times than the total number of young black men in New York City. Meanwhile, the number of guns pulled off the streets during these random searches has decreased, and the number of shootings remain unchanged.
The broadest legal challenge to stop-and-frisk yet will go to court next March, arguing the police improperly implement the program along racial lines.