Former NYPD detective: ‘Without a doubt, stop and frisk is applied … racially’

Updated
By Jordan Michael Smith

The New York City Police Department’s controversial stop and frisk policy is absolutely applied racially, said former NYPD detective Marquez Claxton, head of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance. “There’s a definite racial component to these stops,” he said, speaking on Melissa Harris-Perry on Sunday morning. “Why are innocent black and Latino families—mothers, fathers, our elders and seniors—being stopped at the same rate as our young folk now in many neighborhoods?”

Stop and frisk is the name of an NYPD policy encouraging patrolling officers to stop, question, and often search individuals who they deem suspicious. Though New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly are vocal defenders of the policy, critics have claimed that the basis for stop-and-frisk stops is more often race than reasonable suspicion.

A recent report by the NYCLU makes that case. According to the report, only 6% of stop and frisk stops resulted in arrests; there was a 600% increase in such stops since 2002; and the top reason individuals were stopped and frisked by NYPD officers was alleged “furtive movements.”

“The numbers don’t lie in as far as the level of stops, particularly in the black and Latino communities,” said Claxton.

Furthermore, as WNYC radio’s Ailsa Chang pointed out, the number of stop-and-frisk stops of young black men in 2011 actually exceeded the young, black, male population of New York City. “More than 40 percent of all stops last year of black and Latino men between 14 and 24—they only represent 5% of the entire city population,” she added.

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Former NYPD detective: 'Without a doubt, stop and frisk is applied ... racially'

Updated