The stop and frisk policy, explained

Michael Bloomberg's role in expanding stop-and-frisk when he was New York’s mayor is under fresh scrutiny. We spoke with Darius Charney, an attorney who sued NYC over the racist policy.

What is Stop and Frisk?

Since 2002, around 5 million New Yorkers were subjected to stop and frisk. “The term refers to a policing tactic, a law enforcement tactic where a police officer, if they reasonably suspect that somebody is engaged in criminal activity, has the authority to briefly detain them, to briefly stop them, ask them questions, and in certain situations, even pat down their clothing to look for weapons.”, Darius Charney, the Senior Staff Attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights explains. When Michael Bloomberg was the mayor of New York, stop-and-frisk policy peaked. In 2011, the NYPD stopped 685,000 individuals. 87% of them were black or Latinx.

The impact of the policy

When he entered the 2020 Democratic primary, Bloomberg apologized for the city's widespread use of stop and frisk. “We did bring the murder rate down, but it got out of hand and I didn't stop it fast enough. And I apologize for it.”, Bloomberg stated. In February 2020, a racist 2015 recording of Bloomberg defending the targeting of minorities resurfaced. Nearly 9 out of 10 New Yorkers who were subjected to stop and frisk were innocent.

The violations of the policy

Darius Charney was one of the attorneys who sued the city of New York over its stop and frisk policy. “We were also able to prove that it was racially discriminatory and therefore violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. And as a result of that, the judge put the NYPD under a federal monitor ship, which they are still under, and ordered them to fix and make some pretty drastic changes to their stop and frisk program.”, he disclosed. In 2018, 11,008 stops were recorded in New York. “In the years since Mayor Bloomberg left office under Mayor de Blasio, the number of recorded stops has gone down. You know, more than ninety five percent.”, he concludes.