Our Communities, Our Solutions
In August of 2013, a Federal court ruled that the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices were guilty of a pattern and practice of racial profiling and unconstitutional stops in its decision on Floyd v. City of New York. As part of that ruling, the court also issued a decision on the remedial relief for Ligon v. City of New York, a class action lawsuit challenging Operation Clean Halls – part of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program that allows officers to patrol thousands of private apartment building across the city. Despite the attempts by the Bloomberg administration and police unions to appeal the ruling and delay the implementation of the court’s joint remedy process, the process began after the de Blasio administration reached an agreement with the plaintiffs to drop the city’s appeal and the unions’ efforts failed. The settled Davis v. City of New York, a class action lawsuit against the New York City Housing Authority and the City of New York for unlawful and racially discriminatory stops and arrests of NYCHA residents and visitors for trespassing, also become part of the court-ordered reform process.
Despite a decline in the number of total stop-and-frisks reported by the NYPD and misleading claims that the issue has been solved, the court-ordered reform process remains underway and New Yorkers continue to face abusive and unconstitutional stops in the streets, as well as racially discriminatory policing abuses in public housing and private buildings. Additionally, the court-appointed monitor noted in his report last year that the NYPD’s own audit showed officers were not consistently or correctly documenting stops. In the documented stops, disparities remain for who is subjected to stops and the overwhelming majority of stops do not result in arrest or summons. In the first 2 quarters of 2016, 83% of those stopped were Black or Latino, and 77% of stops resulted in neither arrest nor summons. In 2015, 83% of those stopped were Black or Latino, 80% of stops resulted in neither arrest nor summons, and less than 1% of stops resulted in the recovery of a gun. In 2014, 80% of those stopped were Black or Latino, 80% of stops resulted in neither arrest nor summons, and less than 1% of stops resulted in the recovery of a gun.
True, lasting reforms do not come from simply decreasing the overall number of recorded stops – they require systemic changes to policies and practices that advance accountability. The role of impacted communities is critical to ensuring comprehensive and meaningful solutions to stop-and-frisk and other police abuses are enacted. These communities continue to experience daily abuses, can define and identify effective solutions, and are best positioned to judge whether lasting changes are taking place in local communities. The “Our Community, Our Solutions” town hall forums are intended to facilitate the input of affected community members in the collaborative, court-ordered process to develop reforms and solutions that end the stop-and-frisk abuses and other NYPD abuses that violated New Yorkers’ civil rights.