A new poll by the New York Times reveals that 64 percent of New Yorkers surveyed think the NYPD favors Whites over Blacks, particularly when it comes to the department's controversial stop and frisk program. Eighty percent of Blacks share this view, compared to 48 percent of Whites—further proof that the program has created two very distinct sets of experiences for Black and White New Yorkers.
The New York Police Department's biased stop and frisk program has been ineffective in reducing crime and getting guns off the street, and Black New Yorkers overwhelmingly agree that the stop and frisk program has led to harassment of innocent Black folks. This is unsurprising, given that last year alone the police stopped nearly 700,000 people—about 87 percent were Black or Latino. A related poll found that New Yorkers are divided on stop-and-frisk policies along racial lines—57 percent of Whites support the practice, while only 25 percent of Blacks approved.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg continue to argue that their stop and frisk program saves Black lives, while offering little more than anecdotal proof. Additionally, most of those surveyed rejected Mayor Bloomberg's chief rationale for the practice, saying they did not think the program had lowered the crime rate or reduced the use of illegal guns.
Sustained pressure from NYC ColorOfChange members and other civil rights organizations have forced the Mayor and Commissioner to reduce the number of stops by 34 percent from the 203,500 stops in the first quarter of this year. However, the problem with the stop and frisk program is not the sheer number of stops alone. During the last quarter of 2012 in which the numbers of stops declined, still over 85 percent of people stopped were black or Latino. Despite claims of reform to the program and a decrease in the actual number of stops there has not been a similar decrease in the targeting and profiling of Blacks and Latinos, further eroding the public's trust in the department.
If you haven't already raised your voice, please join our campaign calling for an immediate end to this kind of racially-biased, dangerous policing, and ask your friends and family to do the same.