NYPD officers who stop and frisk people on the street will soon have to give a better explanation for their actions, according to the Daily News
who reported that NYPD brass is changing stop and frisk forms to include a new field called “Reason For Force Used.” The field gives officers six options to choose from, including whether the person stopped was reaching for a suspected weapon. There’s also a box marked “other” which allows officers to give a more detailed reason.
The NYPD says the move is an effort to give police officials a better understanding of the circumstances of street stops. The department has been accused of stopping and harassing many black and Hispanic men without arresting them. But will this move allow for more stop and frisks now that officers are given a chance to give an official justification?
The New York Civil Liberties Union says giving officers options to check only allows them to justify their actions. ”Does this new form promise togive us honest answers?” asked Donna Lieberman, the NYCLU’s executive director. “I doubt that.”
In response to the public backlash Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said cops decided to make the change after reviewing suggestions from the Rand Corp., a think tank hired in 2007 to evaluate how cops stop, question and frisk people.
The study, paid for by the Police Foundation, a nonprofit that funds various police programs, said whites and minorities have a roughly equal chance of being stopped by police. Yet the statistics tell a different story. There were a record 601,055 stops in 2010 and only 6% of those stops lead to arrests. Conviction rates are not readily available. The “250” List as it is referred to because of the UF-250 form that officers use to file stop-and-frisk reports has over 3 million names on it. Eighty seven percent of those stopped were black or Latino.
As TruthSquad first reported back in December 2010 in a report on the NYPD’s introduction of retinal scanners:
This information dovetails with another recent controversy over “stop and frisk” databases. Ray Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg pushed to keep the recently banned NYPD policy to keep a database of New Yorkers who were stopped and frisked but not found guilty of any violation. You read that correctly. Mayor Bloomberg wanted to keep a list of innocent people who the NYPD stopped and frisked with no probable cause in a direct violation of their Constitutional rights.
Governor Paterson signed into law a ban on this policy, although that only stops the NYPD from keeping their names in an electronic database. The NYPD is still keeping a paper record (the aforementioned “250 list” ) of these stops even if no evidence of a crime has bee
n found and no arrest made. The NYPD continues to violate the constitutional rights of New Yorkers randomly stopping people for reasons as innocuous as spitting on the ground or dropping a cigarette butt. It should also be noted that the Mayor Bloomberg has been lobbying for British style video surveillance in NYC. Britain has one CCTV camera for every 14 citizens.
So where do we see all of this going? If Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Ray Kelley and the Rand Corp. get there way Police officers will be stopping, frisking and taking retinal scans of millions of innocent New Yorkers then data sharing with the Federal government, Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies in violation of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.