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NYPD Ups Street Stops, Raising Civil Liberties Alarm

Civil liberties advocates are sounding the "stop-and-frisk" alarm after new numbers show New York City police last year stopped the highest number of pedestrians since 2015, Bloomberg reports. Pedestrian stops in 2022 increased 61 percent over the previous year, to nearly 15,000 people, mostly Black or Latino, according to an analysis of police department data by the New York branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. Most were released without any arrest or citation issued. Since a court ruled in 2013 that the city's use of stop-and-frisk was unconstitutional, the number of pedestrian stops in the city has dropped substantially, from a high of 685,000 pedestrian stops in 2011. But the 2022 figures represent a reversal of that trend.


“We're very concerned about a department that's going back to a regime where it's engaging in very aggressive stop and frisk,” said Christopher Dunn, legal director for the NYCLU. “It's a program that does very little to produce public safety.” The NYPD pointed to a 22 percent increase in major felony crimes and a 26 percent jump in low-level infractions in 2022 as part of the reason for the uptick in stops. However, the stop data show that in 2022 the outcomes of the stops increasingly resulted individuals being let go. In the last quarter of the year, 67.4 percent of stops resulted in a person being released with no enforcement action taken, the highest level since 2019. Mayor Eric Adams has alluded to the nuance in the 2013 court ruling and expressed support for the tactic, arguing repeatedly during his campaign and in his first year in office that the practice could be used equitably. An NYPD spokesperson echoed that sentiment in a statement saying, “The NYPD uses this tool with increasing levels of precision, stopping individuals based on organic, specific observations.” The NYPD also published vehicle stop data for the first time, showing more than 673,000 traffic stops last year, only 2 percent of which led to arrests.

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