This preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.
This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.View Full Document
Unformatted text preview: A Few Blocks, 4 Years, 52,000 Police Stops Robert Stolarik for The New York Times An army of officers patrol a Brooklyn neighborhood nightly, stopping and questioning residents. By RAY RIVERA, AL BAKER and JANET ROBERTS Published: July 11, 2010 When night falls, police officers blanket some eight odd blocks of Brownsville, Brooklyn. Squad cars with flashing lights cruise along the main avenues: Livonia to Powell to Sutter to Rockaway. And again. On the inner streets, dozens of officers, many fresh out of the police academy, walk in pairs or linger on corners. Others, deeper within the urban grid, navigate a maze of public housing complexes, patrolling the stairwells and hallways. This small army of officers, night after night, spends much of its energy pursuing the controversial Police Department tactic known as Stop, Question, Frisk, and it does so at a rate unmatched anywhere else in the city. The officers stop people they think might be carrying guns; they stop and question people who merely enter the public housing project buildings without a key; they ask for identification from, and run warrant checks on, young people halted for riding bicycles on the sidewalk. One night, 20 officers surrounded a man outside the Brownsville Houses after he would not let an officer smell the contents of his orange juice container. Between January 2006 and March 2010, the police made nearly 52,000 stops on these blocks and in these buildings, according to a New York Times analysis of data provided by the Police Department and two organizations, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the New York Civil Liberties Union. In each of those encounters, officers logged the names of those stopped whether they were arrested or not into a police database that the police say is valuable in helping solve future crimes. These encounters amounted to nearly one stop a year for every one of the 14,000 residents of these blocks. In some instances, people were stopped because the police said they fit the description of a suspect. But the data show that fewer than 9 percent of stops were made based on fit description. Far more nearly 26,000 times the police listed either furtive movement, a catch-all category that critics say can mean anything, or other as the only reason for the stop. Many of the stops, the data show, were driven by the polices ability to enforce seemingly minor violations of rules governing who can come and go in the citys public housing. The encounters most urgently meant to get guns off the streets yield few arrests. The encounters most urgently meant to get guns off the streets yield few arrests....
View Full Document
- Spring '08