The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Civil Rights Attorneys: Racial Disparities Persist in NYPD Stop and Frisk

Attorneys Say Report by Monitor Overseeing Reforms Misleads


Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) submitted a court filing highlighting ongoing racial disparities in the NYPD's stop-and-frisk practices. CCR's filing responds to the first report analyzing racial disparities in the NYPD's stop-and-frisk practices, filed last week with the Federal Court by the monitor overseeing reforms to those practices in Floyd v. City of New York, CCR's landmark federal stop-and-frisk case. Attorneys and their statistical experts say the monitor's report misrepresents, and plays down, those disparities.

"While it is true that overall stops have decreased, the same disparities between stops and frisks of Black and Latino New Yorkers and Whites remain, even after controlling for higher crime rates in certain parts of the city," said Center for Constitutional Rights Senior Staff Attorney Darius Charney. "Decreasing the overall number of stops is an important step in the right direction, but the unconstitutional elements of the NYPD's stop-and-frisk practices will not be remedied until Blacks and Latinos are no longer targeted for stops because of their race, which the data indicate is still happening."

CCR attorneys say the monitor's report is misleading in several ways. First, it touts a dramatic, decrease in stops of Black and Latino New Yorkers without noting that stops of Whites have decreased at the same rate. Thus, while the overall number of stops has decreased, the racial disparities remain unchanged.

Second, the monitor's report states that racial disparities in certain post-stop outcomes, like who gets frisked or has force used against them after being stopped, had "disappeared" by 2015. CCR says this misstates the results of the monitor's own analyses, which indicate that the size of many of these disparities remained the same and, in some cases, even grew.

Finally, according to CCR and their experts, the monitor's statistical analyses of the stop-and-frisk data depart from the widely accepted standard for measuring statistical significance that has long been used both by federal courts in race discrimination cases and social scientists studying racial bias by police.

"Given the concerns we and our experts have raised, the monitor's findings must be taken with a grain of salt," said Jonathan Moore of the law firm of Beldock, Levine & Hoffman, LLP, co-counsel in the Floyd case. "We hope the monitor will incorporate our suggestions into his future stop-and-frisk data analyses so that we, and the people of New York City, can get an accurate view of the NYPD's efforts to end racially-biased stop-and-frisk."

In August 2013, CCR and co-counsel won a landmark ruling that found the NYPD's stop-and-frisk practices to be racially discriminatory and unconstitutional under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. The court ordered immediate reforms and appointed a monitor to oversee additional reforms, including a joint remedial process that is intended to solicit substantive input from directly-affected communities as well as other stakeholders.

Read today's filing here. For more information on the case, Floyd v. City of New York, visit CCR's case page.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. CCR is committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

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