The Issue

The Problem

“Stop and frisk” and other discriminatory policing practices have spiraled out of control. In 1994, Mayor Giuliani and the NYPD adopted controversial “broken windows” policing strategies, which promote aggressive enforcement of minor offenses on the theory that this will prevent serious crime. Under Mayor Bloomberg, the NYPD has dramatically expanded this flawed strategy. Each year, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are wrongfully stopped, frisked, or searched. Many wrongfully receive a summons, or are even arrested. Some are even sexually or physically assaulted by NYPD officers. They are being targeted by an increasingly confrontational and arrogant police force, often humiliated in their own homes, schools and neighborhoods.

  • In 2011, the New York Police Department made over 684,000 street stops - a 14% increase over 2010 (and a 603% increase since 2002, Bloomberg's first year in office)! Close to 90% of the stops resulted in no arrest or summons whatsoever.
  • Even when these stops yield arrests, almost all are low-level, many resulting directly from citizens questioning the rights of the police to stop them in the first place. While most of these arrests don’t result in criminal convictions, they often trigger severe consequences – including job loss, eviction, and even deportation of permanent residents who are not citizens.
  • Stop and frisk and other “broken windows” policing aggressively targets low-income communities of color, young people, homeless people, LGBT people, people with disabilities, immigrants, and women. Many people who have been stopped have reported intense harassment by police. Young people expect to be stopped every day, often multiple times a day, even in school.
  • These policies make us ALL less safe, by creating an atmosphere of fear of the police, instead of trust.

These policies are an outrage, violating our fundamental rights and even the most basic fairness in our city. This is not an acceptable approach to public safety in New York.

 

The Solution

New York City needs a fundamentally different approach to policing and public safety, one based on cooperation and respect for communities – not on targeting and harassment.

  • We need to encourage policing and public safety practices based on cooperation and trust with community members.
  • Community members need to feel safe, and need to know that the NYPD will be held accountable. Someone needs to police the police.
  • Many stops, searches, summons and arrests are driven by the pressure on officers to hit quotas and stop a certain number of people and make a certain number of arrests. The police department needs to get rid of the system that turns members of our community into a way to hit quota targets.

Communities United for Police Reform is pushing for legislation that would substantially reduce the number of encounters between police and residents that are based on profiling and discrimination. We are calling on the New York City Council to pass legislation ending discriminatory “stop and frisk” practices and related discriminatory policing, ensuring respect of New Yorkers’ rights, and far more vigorous oversight of the NYPD. Additionally, we are calling for reforms to the citizen complaint process, so that reports of abuse, unlawful stops and improper behavior is taken far more seriously. Most importantly, making meaningful change in the way the NYPD interacts with New Yorkers every day will require a concerted effort in communities around the city. We will be on the streets, educating people about their rights, monitoring and documenting police abuse. And we will be in the courts and on the steps of City Hall and the state capitol, demanding change to the NYPD until these policies end. We need you to join our powerful movement to stop police violence.