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The NYPD Is Stopping More People in Eric Adams’s New York

Ten years after a federal court declared the NYPD's use of stop-and-frisk unconstitutional, street stops are on the rise.

NYPD SUV

(Gianandrea Villa / Unsplash)

Throughout his successful mayoral campaign, Eric Adams defended the NYPD's practice of stopping and frisking New Yorkers on the street, and he's continued to embrace the tactic as mayor.

"Stop, question, and frisk has not stopped, we're just not breaking the law," Adams told reporters last year. "We want officers to use every tool that's available within the law to go after those who are carrying guns."

Now, nearly ten years after a federal court declared the NYPD's use of stop-and-frisk unconstitutional, street stops are on the rise—and they still disproportionately impact people of color. 

According to the most recent NYPD data analyzed by the New York Civil Liberties Union, during the first three months of 2023, the NYPD made 4,193 stops, the most of any quarter since 2015. The jump in stops this year comes after a 61 percent increase in stops in 2022, the first year that Adams was in office. 

NYPD data from NYCLU

The NYCLU data also shows that 93 percent of the people stopped in the first months of 2023 were Black or Latino; just six percent were white (31 percent of New York's population is white).

NYPD data from NYCLU

And most of 2023 stops—70 percent—were not arrested or given a summons.

NYPD data from NYCLU

While the NYPD conducts far fewer stops than they did when they were stopping 685,000 New Yorkers in 2011 (though traffic stops now rival those huge numbers), the court-appointed monitor, whose job it is to ensure that the police are complying with a 2013 ruling that found the NYPD's stops unconstitutional and ordered a series of reforms, noted in a letter to a federal judge earlier this year that "underreporting concerns remain." A review of a selection of body camera footage in early 2022 showed that a quarter of those stops weren't being documented by the police, which the monitor called "concerning." And in late 2022, the NYPD also abruptly eliminated an internal program that required cops to review questionable stops.

The police department didn't immediately respond to our request for comment.

Some links for you to read and ponder:

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