Last year, when the NYPD broke its previous all-time-high record for stop-and-frisks with a sensational 601,055 street stops, many fans thought there was no way they could top one in 2011! But Coach Ray Kelly's NYPD dream team is on track for yet another champion stop-and-frisk season this year! Police have stopped and interrogated over 161,000 innocent New Yorkers in the first quarter of 2011, and at this rate they'll easily crush last year's record with over 700,000 stops. But will the NYPD's bitter rivals—the wild card underdog New York Civil Liberties Union [NYCLU]—steal their thunder in the playoffs?
The NYCLU has been unable to topple the NYPD's unbeatable stop-and-frisk dynasty, though the group did play a role in getting Albany to shut down the NYPD's computer database of innocent people swept up in the stop-and-frisk program. And last week the NYCLU filed a federal lawsuit challenging the NYPD’s practice of detaining, questioning and searching livery car passengers. The passenger pat-downs are an outgrowth of a program called TRIP, which lets livery drivers put placards in their windows to give cops the go-ahead to pull the car over and search it. You may recall that Hot 97/Kiss FM manager Terrence Battle raised hell back in 2010 when he was riding home to Bed-Stuy in a livery cab and cops pulled the car over, ordered Battle out, and searched him.
There have been 183,326 stop-and-frisk encounters recorded from January through March in NYC, according to NYPD records [pdf] obtained by the NYCLU. About 88 percent of those stops resulted in neither an arrest nor a summons, and it probably won't surprise you that about 84 percent of those stopped by police were black or Latino. (In 2010, only about 9 percent of people stopped were white.) So far, stop-and-frisk incidents are up 22 percent over the same time period last year, and though it may be premature for the NYPD to start celebrating another record-breaking season, it's only a matter of time before a couple of giddy cops dump a Gatorade cooler all over Coach Kelly.
"The NYPD is turning black and brown neighborhoods across New York City into Constitution-free zones," said the NYCLU's Donna Lieberman.