Amidst intense scrutiny and a bevy of civil rights lawsuits, the New York Police Department drastically reduced its use of the controversial stop-and-frisk practice in 2013. Newly minted Police Commissioner William Bratton announced Wednesday that recorded stops dropped 60 percent, from more than 533,000 in 2012 to 194,000 in 2013.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) vehemently condemned stop-and-frisk during the election, and Bratton vowed to scale back his predecessor’s program. With the new numbers out, Bratton argued that the stop-and-frisk problem has “more or less been solved.”
“Clearly it is in decline and I believe that is a good thing,” Mr. Bratton said. “The number of stops has fallen dramatically and in some instances it has stopped altogether. Stop and frisk has been stopped in some neighborhoods altogether.”
At the peak of stop-and-frisk in 2011, police made more stops of young black men than the total number of young black men who live in New York. In fact, one officer testified that he was specifically instructed to target young black men.
A federal judge ruled last year that stop-and-frisk unconstitutionally targets black and Latino New Yorkers, but the decision was stayed as former Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) sought an appeal. De Blasio announced that he would drop the appeal when it goes to court next week, allowing the judge’s order to go into effect and end the stop-and-frisk decade.
While Bratton argues that the reduced stops mean the problem is “solved,” he failed to mention whether or not the percentage of minorities stopped had also declined. In 2012, the NYPD touted a decline in stops but kept targeting a high proportion of minorities.