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STOP AND FRISK

THE
HUMAN
IMPACT

THE STORIES THE EFFECTS ON
BEHIND THE NUMBERS OUR COMMUNITIES

Center for Constitutional Rights
JULY 2012

© 2012 by the Center for Constitutional Rights
The information contained in this document does not reflect any of the conclusions,
evidence, or arguments that will be presented by plaintiffs in the lawsuit Floyd v. City of
New York, 08 Civ. 1034 (SAS) (SDNY).

Center for Constitutional Rights
666 Broadway, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10012
www.CCRjustice.org
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is dedicated to advancing and protecting
the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements
in the South, CCR is a nonprofit legal and educational organization committed to the
creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

STOP AND FRISK

THE HUMAN IMPACT
THE STORIES BEHIND THE NUMBERS,
THE EFFECTS ON OUR COMMUNITIES

JULY 2012

Acknowledgments
This report would not have been possible without the many New Yorkers whose stories
are at its heart. Their willingness to be interviewed and share the experience of what it
means to be stopped and frisked has made it possible to show the human impact of a
policy that affects 2,200 city residents every day.
CCR is grateful to all the community-based, grassroots, and social justice organizations
that facilitated this research and helped make the interviews possible.
CCR’s Nahal Zamani led the research effort, conducted and compiled the interviews,
nurtured community connections, and wrote the first draft of the report. Her passion
has been the guiding force of this project.
Kip Bastedo, Meghan Krumholz, Ashley Platt, Aya Tasaki, An-Tuan Williams, and the
NYU Law Students for Human Rights (Sascha Bollag, Whitney Flanagan, Elizabeth
Jordan, Alex Kondo, and Kari Wohlschlegel) provided research assistance and support.
Andrea Ritchie, Co-coordinator of Streetwise and Safe, reviewed an early version of the
report and provided valuable feedback.
Sarah Hogarth edited the report and created the final draft. Margarita Aguilar did the
graphic design.
Special thanks to the CCR legal staff working on the Floyd v. City of New York case –
Darius Charney, Sunita Patel, Ian Head, and CCR Legal Director Baher Azmy – for their
expertise and input.
This report was made possible in part by the generous support of the Ford Foundation.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1

SUMMARY

3

INTRODUCTION
Stop and Frisk

5

CHAPTER 1
Lasting Effects: The Impact of Stop and Frisk on Individuals
Inappropriate Touching and Sexual Harassment
Police Brutality
Trauma and Humiliation
Fear as a Way of Life
Improper Arrests for Minor Drug Possession
Collateral Consequences of Arrests
Unemployment
Loss of Access to Housing, Shelter, and Public Benefits
Impact on Family Members

11

CHAPTER 2
Targeting Vulnerable Populations: The Impact of Stop and Frisk
on Communities
Race
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer / Gender
Non-conforming Communities
Condoms as Evidence of Prostitution
Youth
Low-income People
Immigrants, Ethnic and Religious Minorities
Homeless People
Intersections
Citywide Impact

17

CHAPTER 3
Living Under Siege: The Impact of Stop and Frisk on Neighborhoods
Expectation of Harassment
Communities Under Siege
“Trespassing” at Home
Military-style Occupation
Life in a “High-crime Area”
Feeling Unprotected by Police
Above the Law
Communities Taking Action

23

CONCLUSION

25

RECOMMENDATIONS

27

NOTES

SUMMARY
THE NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT’S (NYPD’s) aggressive stop-and-frisk

practices are having a profound effect on individuals, groups and communities across
the city. This report documents some of the human stories behind the staggering
statistics and sheds new light on the breadth of impact this policy is having on
individuals and groups, in neighborhoods, and citywide.
The Center for Constitutional Rights conducted a series of interviews with people
who have been stopped and frisked by NYPD and heard testimonies from a wide
range of people who are living under the weight of the unprecedented explosion of
this practice. These interviews provide evidence of how deeply this practice impacts
individuals and they document widespread civil and human rights abuses, including
illegal profiling, improper arrests, inappropriate touching, sexual harassment,
humiliation and violence at the hands of police officers. The effects of these abuses can
be devastating and often leave behind lasting emotional, psychological, social, and
economic harm.
The NYPD stop-and-frisk program affects thousands of people every day in New
York City and it is widely acknowledged that an overwhelming majority of those people
are Black or Latino. This report shows that many are also members of a range of other
communities that are experiencing devastating impact from this program, including
LGBTQ/GNC people, non-citizens, homeless people, religious minorities, low-income
people, residents of certain neighborhoods and youth. Residents of some New York City
neighborhoods describe a police presence so pervasive and hostile that they feel like
they are living in a state of siege.
What these stories describe are widespread and systematic human and civil rights
violations against thousands of New Yorkers on a daily basis. The NYPD and city and
state governments must act immediately to put policies and legal protections in place to
end these abuses.

Stop and Frisk | CCR 1

INTRODUCTION
THE NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT (NYPD) is conducting stops and frisks

in record numbers – roughly 685,000 in 2011 and on track to reach over 700,000 this
year.1 Black and Latino people are consistently and intentionally stopped at a hugely
disproportionate rate: nearly 85 percent of all stops.2 These alarming statistics speak
volumes on their own – the overwhelming racial disparity and the low rate of lawful
arrests3 or discovery of contraband4 that result from stops and frisks raise serious
questions about the purpose or usefulness of this practice. However, the numbers alone
do not tell the whole story.
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) first challenged NYPD stop-and-frisk
practices in 1999 with its landmark racial profiling case Daniels, et al. v. City of New
York, et al.,5 which led to the disbanding of the infamous Street Crime Unit.6 A 2003
settlement agreement in that case required the NYPD to begin providing stop-andfrisk data to CCR on a quarterly basis. When subsequent analysis of this data revealed a
continuing pattern of widespread racial profiling and unconstitutional stops and frisks,
the Center filed another federal class action lawsuit, Floyd, et al. v. City of New York, et
al.7 in 2008. Along with this ongoing litigation, CCR has engaged in extensive advocacy
around this issue as part of an unprecedented movement of grassroots organizations,
lawyers, researchers, and activists in a campaign to end discriminatory policing
practices in New York. CCR is a member of Communities United for Police Reform
(CPR),8 a coalition that strives to promote public safety and policing practices that are
based on cooperation and respect instead of discriminatory targeting and harassment.
In order to gain a deeper understanding of the impact that NYPD policing policies
are having on the lives of New Yorkers, CCR conducted 54 interviews9 with people who
had been stopped by the NYPD. This report is a summary of those interviews; these are
the stories behind the numbers.
The picture that emerges from these stories is as clear as it is disturbing. Each year,
hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are being illegally profiled and subjected to
humiliating experiences at the hands of the NYPD. Often these encounters have serious
repercussions that can change the course of people’s lives. A wide range of communities
in our society have learned to live in fear of police and a generation of children of color
have grown up in an environment where being mistreated by police is an expected part
of daily life. Entire New York City neighborhoods exist under conditions that residents
compare to a military occupation – where simply going to the store or coming home
from school is a dangerous activity.
The widespread use of stop and frisk in New York City is also part of a larger trend of
ever-increasing criminalization and mass incarceration that has resulted in the United States
having, by far, the highest incarceration rate in the world.10 In this way, the devastating
effects of stop and frisk are also a harbinger of the larger costs of this national crisis.

Each year, hundreds
of thousands of New
Yorkers are being
illegally profiled and
subjected to humiliating
experiences at the hands
of the NYPD.

Stop and Frisk
“Stop and frisk” is the police practice of temporarily detaining people on the street,
questioning them, and possibly also frisking or searching them. Under the law, an
officer may not stop a person without having a reasonable suspicion that the individual
Stop and Frisk | CCR 3

has engaged or is about to engage in criminal activity. Frisking someone is legally
permitted only when the officer has a reason to suspect that the person is armed and/
or dangerous.11 A stop may result in an arrest or a summons being issued if evidence of
criminal activity is discovered.
In New York City, police officers have a standardized form12 on which they must
record the circumstances that led them to stop someone. The form lists several possible
reasons for the stop that officers check off, including “Fits Description,” “Furtive
Movements,” “Suspicious Bulge/Object,” “Wearing Clothes/Disguises Commonly Used
in Commission of Crime,” “Sights and Sounds of Criminal Activity,” and “Area Has
High Incidence of Reported Offense of Type Under Investigation” (high-crime area).13
The data compiled from these forms was provided to CCR pursuant to the settlement
agreement in Daniels and continues as part of the Floyd litigation.
The use of stops and frisks has grown at an astounding rate – a more than 600
percent increase over the past ten years. The number of stops in 2011 was the largest
on record and 2012 is on track to be higher still, with over 203,500 stops in the first
three months alone – an average of 2,200 stops per day. These numbers are all the more
significant in light of evidence that an alarming number of these stops, frisks, and
searches are illegal, in part because they are not based on the required level of suspicion
of criminal activity.14 Despite the City’s attempts to justify the program as aimed at
confiscating illegal weapons, a 2010 expert report by Professor Jeffrey Fagan that CCR
submitted to the court in Floyd found that the weapons and contraband yield from stops
and frisks hovered around only 1.14 percent – a rate no greater than would be found by
chance at random check points.15

4 Stop and Frisk | CCR

CHAPTER 1

LASTING EFFECTS: THE IMPACT OF
STOP AND FRISK ON INDIVIDUALS
STOPS AND FRISKS HAVE A PROFOUND IMPACT on the individuals who are subjected

to them. CCR heard testimonies from people who had experienced a range of
inappropriate and abusive behaviors by police, including being forcibly stripped to their
underclothes in public, inappropriate touching, physical violence and threats, extortion
of sex, sexual harassment and other humiliating and degrading treatment. These
experiences affect people in a multiplicity of ways. While nine out of ten stops do not
result in any arrest or summons,16 everyone subject to a stop and frisk must cope with
the emotional, psychological, social, and economic impact on their lives. Stops based on
illegal profiling can lead to disproportionate rates of arrests and convictions which, in
turn, carry a wide range of damaging collateral consequences.

Inappropriate Touching and Sexual Harassment
A number of people interviewed by CCR stated that during the course of being
stopped by the NYPD they were inappropriately touched, sexually harassed, and/
or sexually assaulted. Several interviewees described having their genitals touched or
groped by the NYPD during searches18 and/or were told or forced by the NYPD to
remove their clothes in public.19 Speaking out against inappropriate touching can lead
to a charge of resisting arrest.20 These experiences often leave people feeling disrespected
and violated. As one individual described, “It made me feel violated, humiliated,
harassed, shameful, and of course very scared.”21

It’s the difference
between frisking
somebody and going
in [their] underwear
or like putting gloves
on outside, checking
other people’s private
areas, and people’s
rectal area to see if they
have drugs in them. It’s
just too much, outside –
that’s embarrassing.17
– Will E., a 20-year-old
Black and Dominican man
living in the Hamilton
Heights neighborhood of
Manhattan

Police Brutality
Stops and frisks are steeped in the ever-present threat of police violence. Several
interviewees reported that stops often result in excessive force by police, describing
instances when officers slapped them, threw them up against walls or onto the ground,
beat them up, used a Taser on them, or otherwise hurt them physically. Many of the
testimonies CCR heard illustrate that this force is often used indiscriminately, or in
response to being asked the reason for a stop or an arrest.22 Often, experiences of
brutality by police leave people feeling terrified and helpless:

My jeans were ripped. I had bruises on my face. My whole face was swollen.
I was sent to the precinct for disorderly conduct. I got out two days later.
The charges were dismissed. At central booking, they threw out the charge.
No charge. I felt like I couldn’t defend myself, didn’t know what to do. No
witnesses there to see what was going on. I just wish someone was there to
witness it. I felt like no one would believe me. I couldn’t tell anyone. I kept it in
till now... I still am scared.23

Stop and Frisk | CCR 5

You shouldn’t be held
up in your apartment,
if you have one. You
shouldn’t be afraid to
come outside and go
to the store to get a
soda for fear that the
police are going to
stop you, and you’re
either going to get a
expensive, a high-cost
summons or you’re
going to get arrested.27
– Carl W., a 41-year-old
African-American man

The likelihood of physical force being used is higher for certain groups of people.
CCR has previously documented that race is a factor in the use of force by the NYPD.24
People interviewed by CCR report that transgender people,25 especially transgender
women, also live with a “higher risk of violent crimes”26 by the NYPD.

Trauma and Humiliation
The experience of being stopped and frisked by police often has a lasting emotional
impact. People interviewed by CCR described feeling a range of emotions during stops,
including anger, fear, shame, and vulnerability. One man described feeling “disgusted,
insulted, humiliated! And angry! Absolutely angry.”28 Several interviewees said that being
stopped and frisked makes you “feel degraded and humiliated.”29 One went on to say:
When they stop you in the street, and then everybody’s looking… it does
degrade you. And then people get the wrong perception of you. That kind
of colors people’s thoughts towards you, might start thinking that you’re
into some illegal activity, when you’re not. Just because the police [are] just
stopping you for – just randomly. That’s humiliating [on] its own.30

who lives in the Bronx

A stop and frisk can leave people feeling unsafe, fearful of police, afraid to leave their
homes, or re-living the experience whenever they see police. It is common for people to be
stopped numerous times, compounding their anxiety and creating an atmosphere of fear:
I get nervous, I get paranoid ’cause you never know what’s going to happen,
and I don’t feel safe, like especially in Queens, ’cause they just pull you from
no matter what, any reason. And they won’t tell you anything.31

6 Stop and Frisk | CCR

Fear as a Way of Life
Many people explained how having been stopped by police had changed the
way they conducted their daily lives. For example, people described changing their
clothing style33 and/or hairstyles, 34 changing their routes or avoiding walking
on the street, or making a habit of carrying around documents such as ID, mail,
and pay stubs to provide police officers if stopped. One person noted, for instance,
that she carries ID with her even when she is just out walking the dog.35 Several
people expressed sadness, frustration or anger that they believed these adaptations
were necessary.

Improper Arrests for Minor Drug Possession
Stops and frisks often lead to improper arrests for possession of small quantities of
marijuana. Since 1977, New York State law has defined possession of less than 25 grams
of marijuana that is not in public view as a violation punishable by a fine, and not as a
crime. However, it has become common practice in New York City to arrest and charge
someone with a misdemeanor when marijuana is found during a stop and frisk, even
when it was only made visible by or at the direction of a police officer (for example,
removed from a pocket during a search). These improper arrests continue despite an
operations order by Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly directing police officers to put
an end to the practice.37 In June 2012, first Governor Andrew Cuomo and then Mayor
Michael Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly added their support to those calling for
the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana in public view in order to reduce
the number of such arrests.
Because of the extraordinarily high numbers of young people of color who are
stopped and frisked, these improper drug prosecutions are having a particular impact
on this demographic,38 even though drug use is more prevalent among White youth
than Black or Latino youth.39

When police come
around, I make sure I
keep my head down. I’m
very cautious of where
I go. Unfortunately, now
I plan my destinations
to a T. And at this
point in my life, I take
transportation, literal
transportation, like bus
and train. I don’t really
walk anymore.32
– Natasha A., a 24-yearold Black woman living
on the Lower East Side of
Manhattan

Collateral Consequences of Arrests
One in ten stops and frisks lead to an arrest, including many improper arrests. While
this is a small fraction of the number of people stopped, given the massive scale of
the stop-and-frisk policy, it is still a large number, affecting tens of thousands of New
Yorkers every year. Any arrest, in turn, can trigger a cascade of collateral consequences
even if it does not lead to a conviction. Criminal convictions can result in becoming
ineligible for public housing or student loans and losing public benefits; potential
immigration-related consequences can include the loss of legal residence status,
deportation, ineligibility to become a U.S. citizen or becoming inadmissible to the
United States.40 Other consequences of arrests are harder to measure, such as the impact
of missing days of work or losing a job because of being unable to turn up for work, or
what it means for a family if the breadwinner gets a criminal record.
Stops and frisks are often the first encounter that people have with law enforcement,
and they can be a dangerous – and often unjustified – point of entry into ongoing
involvement with the criminal legal system. Several interviewees explained that they
pleaded guilty to baseless charges arising out of a stop and frisk just to get out of jail
quickly or avoid the risk of conviction for a more serious charge. Several people also
Stop and Frisk | CCR 7

White people use drugs
[in] the same amount
if not more than Black
people, but it’s Black
communities that are
targeted, stigmatized,
and put in the media on
the front page.36
– Mark K., a 27-year-old
man living in the
South Bronx

expressed concern that even in the small percentage of stops that do lead to a legitimate
arrest, the fact that these arrests are the result of illegal profiling means that people
of color and other targeted groups are disproportionately those who end up with
criminal records. These criminal records can then contribute to subsequent arrests and
convictions, having a snowball effect in terms of foreclosing opportunity:
Once you start getting a record, it follows you for the rest of your life. A lot
of people just end up pleading guilty to stuff because they want to get out of
jail. But they don’t realize this stuff follows you every time. Now, if you getting
arrested, the police are harassing you and targeting you and arresting you
like every couple weeks, every month or something for this. Then it follows
you; you start to have a reputation for that. And then eventually you start
getting [prison] time behind it.41

Sometimes, the threat of the consequences of criminal convictions is used to further
torment people during stops:
I told him I wanted to be a lawyer. So the officer, the one that gave me the
ticket, told me, “Ha. You would never be that. Trust me.” He’s like, “I’ll give
you a ticket where you won’t ever be that.” … I felt really mad about the
whole thing. I thought that it messed up my, like, chances to go into law
school. I really thought that. Especially that I came so far, I’m getting my
bachelor’s this year. The whole time last year I thought, like, “Wow, I did all
of this hard work for nothing.”42

Unemployment
Stop-and-frisk arrests often leave people languishing “in the system” as they are
moved from the precinct to the courthouse where they wait to appear before a judge.
In New York City it is not unusual for this process to take days, even if the charges
are dropped or dismissed right away because the judge decides that there was no
legitimate reason to make an arrest. Disappearing for several days can be enough to
lose your job:
People actually lose their employment because they weren’t able to come
into work. And since jobs are so hard to get right about now, employers don’t
want to hear, ‘Oh, you can’t come in today because you [were] just arrested.’
And when they’re released they have to start from scratch all over again and
figure out another way to be self-sufficient and to take care of themselves and
their families.43

8 Stop and Frisk | CCR

Having a criminal record makes it more difficult to find a job, as well as making it
likely that any future convictions will be increasingly serious:
They done mess your whole life up and this is what they do…. They arrest you
and build up all these little, petty things… and after a certain time, now okay,
you have three of these, it’s a felony. When you put a felony on somebody
you’re telling a person basically you’re just a hard-core criminal. You can’t get
[a] job. If you want to work in a bank, well you can forget that.44

Loss of Access to Housing, Shelter, and Public Benefits
Stops and frisks can lead to serious hardship when arrests and/or convictions result
in the loss of basic necessities including shelter and public benefits. Many categories of
criminal convictions will trigger ineligibility for public housing in New York City.45
Unfortunately, this fact is not always understood when defendants are deciding whether
or not to accept a plea agreement.46 “Pleading out” is a routine way to quickly end the
legal proceedings and get out of jail:
If you have violations or you have [been] convicted of crimes, you can’t get into
public housing. So that’s one of the ways that it really crushes people that are
homeless. It closes off that gate into New York City housing right away. Just by
being arrested and coming out. And here’s the thing about it: Nobody informs
you of this. [They] never tell you, “You know what? If you plead guilty today,
you’re never going to be able to get New York City housing.”47

For undomiciled48 people, an arrest – even without any conviction – sometimes
means losing your bed in a homeless shelter:

You have 48 hours to return to the shelter, then… [you] lose your place. They
lock your room up, let somebody in your room, it’s bad... If a person gets
arrested, and they take more than 48 hours to sign that book, then they kick
you out.49

My sister got kind of
scared. She started
crying. And then I felt
kind of bad, seeing my
sister cry, so I started
crying too. I was 12.
They told me that if I
don’t stop crying, they’re
going to put me in cuffs
and take me in, too.50
– Juan L., a 16-year-old
Puerto Rican youth living

Impact on Family Members

in Brooklyn

Stops and frisks also have an impact that extends to family members of people who
are stopped and/or arrested. One woman explained that she often steps in to challenge
the police who regularly harass the men in her family because, “with the men, when
they try to speak up for themselves, it makes it worse. The police go hard on them,
and find something, some reason, to arrest them.”51 Children, parents, siblings,
and other family members are subjected to seeing their family or community
Stop and Frisk | CCR 9

members being routinely profiled, disrespected, assaulted, forced to remove clothing,
and/or groped in public by police officers. Some families must live with the added
repercussions of the arrest of a family member, a burden that can be particularly
heavy for dependent children.

10 Stop and Frisk | CCR

CHAPTER 2

TARGETING VULNERABLE
POPULATIONS: THE IMPACT OF
STOP AND FRISK ON COMMUNITIES
STOPS AND FRISKS IMPACT CERTAIN GROUPS of people disproportionately. The most

striking example is people of color, especially Black and Latino young men. These
practices also single out other communities of people for unfair treatment including:
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and/or gender non-conforming (LGBTQ/
GNC) communities, immigrants, homeless people, some religious minorities, lowincome people, residents of certain neighborhoods or public housing, youth, and people
with disabilities.52

Race
CCR’s analysis of stop-and-frisk data clearly indicates that race is the primary factor
in determining who gets stopped by the NYPD. Most stops occur in Black and Latino
neighborhoods and Black and Latino people are significantly more likely to be stopped
than White people, even in areas where populations are racially mixed or mostly
White.55 Blacks and Latinos are treated more harshly than Whites, being more likely to
be arrested instead of given a summons when compared to White people accused of the
same crimes, and are also more likely to have force used against them by police.56 These
dramatic disparities were reflected in the interviews conducted for this report, where
the role of race in stops and frisks was acknowledged by virtually everyone. One typical
interviewee said:

You’re a person of color;
you automatically fit
the description, as they
like to say. And it’s just
wrong.53
– Patrick B., a 21-yearold Black man living in
Brooklyn

If you’re a Black male
and you’re not walking
around with a suit and
tie on, you’re always
suspected of committing
a crime.54
– Brent C., 52-year-old
African-American man

[Stops and frisks] belittle people’s self-esteem and character, make them feel
less of a citizen and less of a person with rights. I feel that stop and frisk is
another tactic to be used against people of color to make them feel like this is
what they should expect to happen to them in their lifetime and that this is a
normal way of life when it’s not, and it’s unconstitutional.57

who lives in the Bushwick
neighborhood of Brooklyn

Many people interviewed for this report noted the message that is being sent by the
fact that whenever they see stops and frisks on the street, “it’s always brown or AfricanAmerican people”58 and that they “don’t see the same thing happening to White people.”59

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Gender
Non-conforming (LGBTQ/GNC) Communities
LGBTQ/GNC communities are heavily impacted by stops and frisks. Several people
interviewed for this report described stops where police treated them in a cruel or
degrading manner because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, or gender
identity, or expression, or because they were gender non-conforming.
Stop and Frisk | CCR 11

So much harassment,
just for being a
transwoman in Jackson
Heights. I don’t think it’s
illegal for me to walk in
a dress, but obviously,
they’re always going
to think I’m a sex
worker…because I’m a
transwoman, and so I’m
soliciting.60
– April R., a 33-yearold transgender Latina

It is a common occurrence for people to be subjected to stops and frisks because
of their sexuality or gender expression. Transgender women in particular are “a
huge target for NYPD discrimination.”62 This observation is echoed by other studies
that confirm transwomen are routinely profiled for offenses such as “loitering for
the purposes of prostitution,” and other sexual offenses, as well as other crimes.63
This discrimination “doesn’t stop on the street,” when transgender women are placed
with men while in NYPD custody.64 Transgender women described being routinely
presumed to be sex workers, simply based on their gender or gender expression:
I’m paranoid, scared…’cause if I’m walking on the street, I better rush to
a public place and run away from them ’cause I know I can get arrested
for just walking on the street. ’Cause if I’m walking with my friend, they
just assume that I’m a prostitute, that I’m a sex worker, or just because I’m
a Hispanic transgender woman, because of my gender, I can just
get arrested.65

living in Jackson Heights,
Queens

In my younger days I
used to dress like a boy
and I used to hang out
with guys. And they
stopped us one time…
and they told me to go
home and change.
I was, like, about 14
years old. I felt like I
couldn’t be myself, you
know. I like guys and
girls but I like dressing
like a boy, too.61
– Maribel S., an 18-yearold woman living in the
Washington Heights
neighborhood of
Manhattan

Interviewees described being inappropriately touched by police or searched by the
NYPD in order to “determine their gender.”66 These “searches” can be aggressive and
are often experienced as sexual assaults. Police officers accuse people of having “fake”
IDs when the gender marked on them does not match the officers’ perception of
that person’s gender, and police officers routinely refuse to respect people’s preferred
gender pronouns:
He did not respect me, because to take my ID that I worked so hard to get
– those IDs are very hard to get – and to say, “No, the real one,” and just
disregard my identity so fast and so fluently was just, it was just hurtful.
Just very hurtful. And to blatantly call somebody a liar to their face is just
something, it’s just ridiculous.67

CCR heard testimony that NYPD officers also target young women who present as
“masculine” for stops and frisks;68 and that transgender people and gay men who are
perceived to be sex workers are singled out for extortion of sex under threat of arrest,69
physical assault, and threats of assault by police.70

Condoms as Evidence of Prostitution
In New York, possession of condoms can be
used by police and prosecutors as evidence of
intent to engage in prostitution-related offenses,
compromising an urgent public health need.
Consistent use of condoms is well known to reduce
the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted

12 Stop and Frisk | CCR

diseases71 but a recent New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
study reported that sex workers and the street-based population are less likely to carry
condoms because they could be used against them in court.72
Discouraging anyone from carrying condoms poses a dangerous public health
risk that is exacerbated by NYPD targeting people for stops and frisks who are
perceived to be engaging in sex work. Activists have advocated for state legislation
that would prohibit the use of condoms as evidence as of prostitution to address
this problem.

Youth
Stops and frisks have become a fact of life for young people in many neighborhoods
in New York City. Many of the people who gave testimonies to CCR described how
youth are hit particularly hard by stop-and-frisk practices and expressed the view that
NYPD unfairly targets young people, especially those of color. CCR’s analysis of stopand-frisk data confirms that people aged 25 and under comprised 55 percent of all stops
in 2011.74
One young woman describes being stopped by the NYPD with her sisters and
cousins, ages 8 through 16, while they were going up the stairs in their public
housing unit:

The young ones [are]
getting stopped all the
time. It’s become a way
of life to them.73
– Laverne I., a 43-year-old
African-American woman
living in the Bronx

[They] told us to stand up take off our shoes, socks, hoodies, and told
everybody to take their top shirt off and leave only their undershirt or one
shirt on. They told us to unbutton our pants and roll the waistband down.
Three of us were in pajamas. They made us stand and wait with backs
turned until a female officer came. She turned us around by our necks and
frisked us. They were looking for weed. They found nothing, but took us to
the precinct anyway, where our mother had to come get us.75

CCR also documented disturbing reports of children being stopped by police on
their way to and from school. This practice “makes kids feel like criminals,”76 and is
part of the broader phenomenon of criminalizing the school environment and creating
what critics have described as a “school to prison pipeline,” a process that channels
low-income children and children of color from the school system into the juvenile and
criminal legal systems:77

There’s a junior high school [where] almost all the kids are either of Arabic
descent or Latino. There [were] days when you’d see all these little kids lined
up, with their legs spread, holding [onto] the wall, and the cops are going
through their pockets and stuff. It’s just like a terrible, disgusting, horrible
thing to see.78

Stop and Frisk | CCR 13

Low-income People

I live in the Bronx, and
the Bronx is like one of
the…poorest counties in
the nation, so I feel like
that itself is a target.79
– Corey F., a 19-year-old
living in the Bronx

Numerous people interviewed by CCR believe that people perceived to be lowincome and/or working-class are more likely to be “targeted and harassed by NYPD”80
wherever they may be in the city. Several suggested that this is in part because these
communities are thought of as less able to fight criminal charges, pay tickets, or take
action against the NYPD for improper arrests:
If you have a status in society, I think they kind of, like, let you off the hook.
But if they think that you’re, like, lower class or poor, working poor, forget
about it. It’s a wrap. They know that you’re not going to have [any] resources
to, like, fight anything.81

Several people interviewed said that they suspect the address listed on an ID is a
factor in determining how the police treat people during stops.82 In some cases, fear of
being stopped by police has led people to adapt their clothing styles in order to avoid
being perceived by police as a low-income person.83

Immigrants, Ethnic and Religious Minorities
I think the main reason
that they stop [and]
frisk me, [is] ’cause I’m
Muslim, and they don’t
like Muslims.… Ever
since that 9/11.84
– Kareem S., a 51-year-old
Black man living in the
Bronx

Many people described how stops and frisks appear to target visible immigrant
communities and ethnic or religious minorities. Stops and frisks are particularly
frightening for non-U.S. citizens because any arrests, including arrests that do not
lead to a conviction and/or improper arrests, can make it more difficult to adjust their
immigration status or to become a citizen of the United States.85 Interviewees also
described an increase in stops and frisks of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian people since
September 11, 2001.86 This perception is supported by recent reports of NYPD spying on
Muslim New Yorkers.87

Homeless People
People who use the public shelter system are also singled out for baseless stops and
frisks by police. Interviewees described NYPD officers waiting outside of shelters and
stopping people that they see coming out.89 The practice of police entering shelters to
search people inside was described as “routine.”90 Such stops are often experienced as
harassment “because we’re poor, we don’t have any money, no job.”91

Intersections
New York is a diverse city and many of its residents live at the intersection of several
communities and may be perceived and/or identify in multiple ways. People who are
members of multiple groups that are each targeted by NYPD for profiling and illegal
stops and frisks can experience compounded prejudice and layers of harm. This reality
is exacerbated by an environment permeated with police violence and a criminal legal
system weighted against many of these same communities. In this way, stops and frisks
deliver the greatest harm to people who already live with layers of discrimination and
oppression. For example:
14 Stop and Frisk | CCR

They harass the Hispanic transgender community in Queens, because they
know that most of them, 60 percent of the community, are mostly immigrants,
they came from different countries, South America, Mexico. And some of them,
they came illegally; they don’t have a legal status. So it’s an easy target to go
after them. They just go for Hispanic, transgender women, because they know
they don’t speak English. And they don’t have education. They don’t know the
law in the United States.92

Citywide Impact
The repercussions of stops and frisks are not limited to the people who are actually
subjected to them or even to those who witness them in their neighborhoods. These
policies and practices affect the entire city. This chapter has documented many
communities that are adversely affected by stops and frisks, but the ripple effects
directly or indirectly impact all city residents.
NYPD’s aggressive use of stop and frisk does significant damage to policecommunity relations in ways that may actually reduce public safety. Several people
interviewed by CCR said they would never call the police if they needed help, based on
experiences where the police had either failed to act or turned against them.93 For some,
this holds true even in life-threatening emergencies, making it possible that “present
policies are actually killing people.”94 Many people expressed concern that stops and
frisks are a waste of public resources and lead to communities not wanting to cooperate
with police, thereby allowing, as one interviewee said, “real crime to continue because
the community and the police aren’t working together because the community doesn’t
trust the police.”95 As one resident of Harlem described:

They see you come out
of the shelter, [and] they
want to stop and frisk
you, run your name.88
– Oscar C., an
undomiciled 36-year-old
Hispanic man

The sheer number of stops is actually ostracizing a huge number of people
who live in these communities that are impacted by crime. It doesn’t make
sense that you’re spending so many man hours, so much energy and
resources, to stop so many innocent people and end up with very little output.
The number of guns that they found from the stops is extremely small. So it
just doesn’t seem effective.96

Stop and Frisk | CCR 15

CHAPTER 3

LIVING UNDER SIEGE: THE
IMPACT OF STOP AND FRISK ON
NEIGHBORHOODS
THE SCALE AND SCOPE OF STOP-AND-FRISK practices in communities of color have

left many residents feeling that they are living under siege. CCR heard testimonies
that compare New York City neighborhoods to “occupied territory,”97 or a region
under hostile military occupation, with community residents at odds with the police
department.
These policing practices have created a growing gulf between the NYPD and the
communities they police, where people are treated as “a permanent under-caste,”98
and are unable to go about their daily lives without repeated harassment by police.
Community members do not feel protected by the NYPD and many feel that important
issues are not being addressed, in part, because the City is pouring excessive resources
into stops and frisks.

Expectation of Harassment
Interviewees described an environment so saturated with a hostile police presence
that being stopped and harassed by police had become integrated into the fabric of
daily life experience. One explained that “it’s so frequent, we don’t even talk about it
or complain about it. It’s to be expected.”99 Another said, “We expect them to jump
out of a car. We expect them to just come out the staircase and scare the hell out of
you. We expect it.”100 Several people described the environment as incompatible with
a free society:

It makes you anxious
about just being,
walking around and
doing your daily thing
while having a bunch
of police always there,
always present and
stopping people that
look like me. They say
if you’re a young Black
male, you’re more
likely to be stopped.
So, it’s always this
fear that “okay, this
cop might stop me,” for
no reason, while I’m
just sitting there in my
neighborhood.102
– Joey M., a 25-yearold Black man living in
Central Harlem

I feel like we’re not in a free country when you can’t walk down the street. You
got to be questioned about where you’re going and what you’re doing.101

Communities under Siege
New Yorkers interviewed for this report explained that the police presence in
their neighborhoods is so extreme that it pervades every aspect of daily life, leaving
people feeling like they are living under siege. They described the risk involved in
simply being in the hallways, stairwells, or elevators of their apartment buildings, in
front of their buildings, or anywhere outside including: walking on the street, on the
subway, in a park, at the corner store, or while driving. Some people have incorporated
the risk of police encounters into their daily lives by always carrying ID or pieces of
mail to verify that they live in a building, pay stubs to prove that they have legitimate
sources of income and where they work, or receipts from libraries after they have
dropped off books:
Stop and Frisk | CCR 17

There have been periods of time in my life living in Jackson Heights where, for
example, walking my dog at night, I have always felt the need to carry my ID
because if I didn’t carry my ID in my own neighborhood, I would basically be
putting myself [at risk] of being picked up and accused of doing sex work.103

Several people indicated that they avoided driving104 or walking on the street
whenever possible, taking public transportation105 in order to avoid being stopped
while walking. Interviewees shared that young people are forced to stay indoors
because, as one interviewee said, “cops [are] outside on the block all day and the kids
can’t play or anything.”106 Several people reported feeling unable to fully engage with
their communities:
There’s this constant fear that, like, police are going to intimidate and harass
you. So stuff that you do in your community, like participate in it, like sitting
on your porch or going to the store or like having fun in your community – you
don’t really get to do that because you have police presence in the street all
the time.107

“Trespassing” at Home
Many interviewees shared that they were harassed in or just outside their apartment
buildings, telling CCR they are repeatedly asked for proof that they live in their
buildings or are accused of trespassing:
I’ll go into the building with the key and they’re still stopping me, asking me
what I’m doing in the building... In the summertime, it’s nice outside. Why
can’t I hang out in front of my building? [The NYPD] give you a ticket for
trespassing ’cause you’re sitting on the bench that’s in front of your building. I
can’t sit on the bench in front of my building? Why’s the bench there?108

This feeling of being trapped inside your apartment is especially difficult for young people
who feel that there is nowhere they can go where they will be free of police harassment:

18 Stop and Frisk | CCR

If I’m in a group of people, you can’t be in front of the building you live in. If
you show the police officers your ID that says you live [there], they tell you to
go in the house or walk somewhere else; you can’t be here on the block. They
want to kick you off the block. They want to kick you out the building. We can’t
be outside?… So what can we do? We want to go out. We don’t want to be in
the house ’cause there’s probably nothing to do in the house. Police don’t care
about that. We don’t have jobs, we’re still young.109

Residents are told “there’s no sitting in front of the building,” and they may even be
required to produce a lease to avoid arrest.110 As documented in the 2010 Fagan report,
“Public housing sites have received special attention from the police...heightening
surveillance of persons coming and going from [New York City Housing Authority]
NYCHA111 sites, leading to frequent stops and arrests for trespass.”112 Many public
housing residents interviewed for this report described being consistently harassed
when coming or going from their homes:
I can’t even walk through the complex, they’re always stopping you, asking
you for ID. “Do you live here?” Every single day. Do I have to go through this
every single day? How many times you going to ask, do I live here? People
don’t even come outside anymore, because they’re more fearful against the
police than the folks in the neighborhood... It’s to the point where people don’t
want to come visit me. My brothers, when they come in, they get stopped. If
you’re a Black man or a Latino man, you’re getting stopped. …you can’t even
walk through the streets freely.113

In my community, and
a lot of communities
in Brooklyn, it’s kind
of like an occupation.
Constantly, around
the clock, I see a lot
of police. [You could
be] coming home
late at night or from
a party or something
and you have to deal
with police, or just
to be coming from
work simply minding
your business on your
way home and you
get stopped by police
multiple times because
of the color of your skin
or the way that you
dress.114
– Manny W., a 23-year-old
Filipino- and African-

Military-style Occupation
Several people interviewed by CCR described NYPD policing tactics as militaristic.
One Harlem resident said that, in his neighborhood, the NYPD is seen as an “occupying
army whose primary objective was to make the streets of New York safe for business
and commerce.” He went on to say that police “have borrowed from military tactics,
because when they patrol the streets, they don’t patrol in a community-friendly way.
They do it like [they’re] on a search-and-destroy mission.”115 One man likened being in
his neighborhood to being in an “outside prison”:

American man living
in Bedford-Stuyvesant,
Brooklyn

As a whole our community is fed up with the militarized form of policing that
we experience. We don’t feel like we live in a neighborhood that’s protected
by the police. We feel that we live in an occupied zone patrolled by law
enforcement. It’s a very containing feeling. It almost feels like you’re in an
outside prison.116

Stop and Frisk | CCR 19

Some interviewees117 compared the police presence to an actual war or conflict zone:
“You would think you [were] in a war zone virtually. Everywhere you look you see
flashing lights.”118

Life in a “High-crime Area”
“Watch yourself;
you shouldn’t be
in these type of
neighborhoods. This is
what happen[s].” But
they forget that these
are the neighborhoods
that we live in, so
it’s not like we could
just move out of these
neighborhoods and go
somewhere else.119
– Charles B., a 44-year-old
man living in the Bedford-

Many people interviewed for this report were told that being in a “high-crime”
neighborhood was the reason they were stopped. Despite a Supreme Court ruling
declaring it unconstitutional to stop and frisk a person simply for being in a so-called
high-crime neighborhood,120 the Fagan report analyzing all stops from 2004-2009
documents that in more than half of them, NYPD officers cited “high-crime area” as a
factor in justifying stops, even in precincts with lower than average crime rates.121

Feeling Unprotected by Police
Many residents of these neighborhoods under siege do not feel that the police are
there to protect them, but rather that they need protection from the NYPD:
We don’t feel protected by the police… I think the main job of the police is
protecting the community, and what they’re doing is just bullying us.124

Stuyvesant neighborhood
of Brooklyn

Some described that this had not always been the case, “But everything changed
now. The average person in the neighborhood look[s] at a policeman as being the enemy.
They don’t look at them for protection.”125 Many people feel that the role of the police in
their communities is to enforce social control and not to
address genuine community needs:
People from communities of color don’t see NYPD
as being there for them or being there to provide
safety or security for them. If anything, they see
NYPD in their communities as a form of keeping
control in those communities. And NYPD sees our
communities as dangerous. And they go about
trying to patrol communities, our communities,
that way instead of addressing the real problems
and the real issues that we’re dealing with.126

A number of people interviewed by CCR shared that
they thought the police were not being responsive to 911
calls or other emergencies because they were focusing
instead on stopping and frisking people:

20 Stop and Frisk | CCR

My community does not like the police. [They’re] there when they want to
make those stops and frisks, but they’re not there when those gunshots come
off. And they’re not there when they’re called upon for actual help, rather than
be there just to harass somebody for being outside.127

Above the Law
Many people expressed frustration and anger at the lack of effective recourse
for police misconduct during stops and frisks: “You can’t do anything against them
because these people, they’re armed. We’re not armed.”128 Police were described
as untouchable129 and operating within “their blue wall of silence.”130 Existing
accountability mechanisms were widely criticized:

Right now it doesn’t feel
like police are there to
protect people. It really
feels like they’re there
to arrest people.122
– Joey M., a 25-year-

I feel like an officer can literally gun down an innocent youngster in my
neighborhood and not receive any accountability for it whatsoever.... I do
believe that if I walked into a police precinct and made a complaint against
Officer B to Officer C that some way it’s going to wind up getting back to
Officer B and that officer is going to wind up at my doorstep by the end of
that evening to either beat me, harass me, or do whatever... They need an
independent auditor and a special appointed attorney general to handle
cases specifically dealing with encounters with the police.... I think that the
[Civilian Complaint Review Board] CCRB needs a re-vamp. Members of the
CCRB need to be appointed publicly – appointed by the people.131

old Black man living in
Harlem, Manhattan

I felt much…safer,
before this search and
frisk started.123
– Angel V., a 37-year-old
Latino man living in West
Harlem, Manhattan

Several interviewees likened the NYPD to a criminal gang:
In my complex I feel like we’re under torment, like we’re under like this big
gang that’s bullying all of us. To me, NYPD is the biggest gang in New York.
They’re worse than any gang, ’cause they could get away with stuff. When
they’re killing people and they don’t get [any] kind of disciplinary action.132

Communities Taking Action
New Yorkers are taking action against discriminatory policing practices, working
together to develop methods for ensuring community safety without the need for calling
police; conducting “know your rights” trainings and other public education campaigns;
and offering support to victims of police abuse. Several people interviewed for this
report are active in community organizations that are working to document police
misconduct, including “Copwatch” programs that act as community foot or vehicle
patrols, monitoring police stops, searches, and arrests through the use of videotape and
other documentation:133
Stop and Frisk | CCR 21

We’ve prevented people from getting tickets and things like that. And who
knows where those things could’ve gone? Who knows where these things can
escalate to? And we have been able to stop it before, before it starts.134

Numerous interviewees stated that they want the NYPD to be more accountable to the
communities it serves and many people also highlighted the benefits and importance of
community-based organizing against police misconduct.

22 Stop and Frisk | CCR

CONCLUSION
THE EXPERIENCES OF PEOPLE directly affected by stops and frisks demonstrate the

multidimensional character of the impact that this practice is having on the lives of
New Yorkers. These personal experiences shared with CCR paint a disturbing picture
of a police department out of control and provide a window into the hardship, violence,
trauma, and social and economic harms that these practices are wreaking on our
communities, our families, and our neighbors.
NYPD stop-and-frisk practices are harming a broad range of vulnerable
communities and further disadvantaging marginalized populations based on their
race, gender or gender expression, sexuality, age, housing status, income, immigration
status, and/or physical disability. People interviewed by CCR described an array of
police misconduct, including: unnecessary use of force, forced strip-searches in public,
sexual harassment or sexual assaults, degrading treatment, and improper arrests. The
ramifications of stops and frisks include long-lasting emotional and psychological
impact as well as collateral costs, such as the loss of jobs, public benefits, and access to
shelter or public housing.
For many New Yorkers, unlawful, unjustified and discriminatory stops and frisks
have become an everyday occurrence and they are having a profound impact on the
lives of the people who experience them, the communities they live in, and the general
public. These stops have become so pervasive that many people have learned to adjust
their daily routines to protect themselves from regular police harassment. In some
neighborhoods, the NYPD is often seen more like an occupying army than a public
service and the constant presence of a hostile police force inhibits people’s ability to
engage with their communities and go about their lives. People interviewed by CCR
questioned the utility of stop-and-frisk practices that are so damaging to policecommunity relations and consume valuable public resources. They also highlighted the
insufficiency and ineffectiveness of existing accountability mechanisms.
The NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices are illegal. Racial profiling and searches based
on illegal profiling violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment,
the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against
unreasonable searches. These policing practices are also human rights abuses. They
violate well-established international legal protections against discrimination;135
from threats of bodily harm;136 and from arbitrary arrest or detention137 and cruel,
inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.138 They also infringe on the right
to privacy,139 freedom of movement,140 association,141 expression,142 equal protection
of the law,143 and the right to participate fully in cultural, religious, and public life.144
NYPD stop-and-frisk practices represent a failure of governmental obligations to respect
the inherent human dignity of all people145 and to take steps to protect vulnerable
populations.146 These practices also violate numerous social and economic rights,
including the right to employment and housing.147
The NYPD stop-and-frisk program affects everyone in New York City, making
us all less safe and harming many of the most vulnerable and already disadvantaged
populations in our city. These discriminatory and harmful abuses must end and the
NYPD must be made accountable to all of the people that it serves.

The ramifications of stops
and frisks include longlasting emotional and
psychological impact
as well as collateral
costs, such as the loss of
jobs, welfare benefits,
and access to shelter or
public housing.

Stop and Frisk | CCR 23

RECOMMENDATIONS
THE STORIES RECOUNTED IN THIS REPORT make it clear that the NYPD must

end the illegal practice of stopping and frisking people based on profiling instead
of legitimate suspicion of criminal activity. A policing strategy that relies on the
widespread use of stops and frisks will inevitably run afoul of the law, the U.S.
Constitution, and international human rights – taking an unacceptable toll on the lives
of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers each year. Implementation of the following
recommendations would address the severe flaws in the stop-and-frisk policy, move
towards curtailing the abusive aspects of this practice, and establish much-needed
accountability and transparency mechanisms to punish and end police misconduct
and abuse.

To the New York City Police Department

A policing strategy
that relies on the
widespread use of stops
and frisks will inevitably
run afoul of the law,
the U.S. Constitution,
and international
human rights.

● End

the use of profiling-based stops and frisks.
● End NYPD “vertical patrols” of public housing complexes.
● End improper arrests and criminal prosecutions for possession of small amounts of
marijuana.
● Draft, implement, and enforce policy, training, supervision, and discipline to
prevent and punish sexual harassment and other abuse of the public by law
enforcement officers.
● Implement the United Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Agents.148

To the New York City Council
Pass legislation149 that would:
● Protect New Yorkers against unlawful searches by requiring law enforcement
officers to provide notice and obtain proof of consent to search individuals.
● Expand protections against discriminatory profiling.
● Require the NYPD to identify themselves to the public.
● Establish an independent inspector general office to oversee the NYPD.
● Improve police misconduct reporting practices.

To the New York State Legislature
Pass legislation that would decrease the opportunities for stop and frisk abuses,
including:
● Prohibiting possession of a condom or other contraceptive device from being used
in court as evidence of prostitution-related offenses.
● Standardizing penalties for private and public possession of 25 grams or less of
marijuana, making them a violation punishable by a fine.

State and Local Implementation of Human Rights Standards
State and local governments and public agencies must ensure that their laws, policies,
and practices do not violate international human rights standards.150 These standards
are articulated in human rights treaties and other international law.151 Accordingly, the
NYPD, the New York City Council, and the New York State Legislature must each take
Stop and Frisk | CCR 25

steps to ensure that the NYPD stop-and-frisk practices reflect the following human
rights obligations:
● Protect all people from discrimination based on actual or perceived race, class,
gender, gender identity and expression, sexuality, ethnicity, language, religion,
political or other opinion, national or social origin, age, housing status, income,
or disability.152
● Ensure that all people are free from arbitrary arrest and detention, and from cruel,
inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.153
● Ensure that all people enjoy equal protection of the law and the right to freedom
of movement, association, expression, and privacy and the right to participate
effectively in cultural, religious, social, economic and public life, and that the
dignity of all people is respected.154

26 Stop and Frisk | CCR

NOTES
1. Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), “First-quarter Stop-and-Frisk Data Sets Yet Another Shameful Record,”
May 4, 2012, http://ccrjustice.org/newsroom/press-releases/first-quarter-stop-and-frisk-data-sets-yet-anothershameful-record. The NYPD reported a record 685,724 stops in 2011 and over 203,500 between January and March of
2012.
2. “2011 Stop and Frisk Statistics,” http://ccrjustice.org/files/CCR_Stop_Frisk_Factsheet-2011.pdf. CCR. In 2011, 84
percent of stops were of Blacks or Latinos, who, in 2010, made up about 23 percent and 29 percent of New York City’s
population respectively. For more information see http://ccrjustice.org/racial-disparity-nypd-stops-and-frisks.
3. Ibid. In 2011, 88 percent of stops did not result in an arrest or a summons being given.
4. Ibid. In 2011, contraband was found in only 2 percent of stops.
5. CCR, “Daniels, et al. v. the City of New York,” http://ccrjustice.org/ourcases/past-cases/
daniels,-et-al.-v.-city-new-york.
6. NYPD’s Street Crime Unit (SCU) was an elite commando unit of more than 300 police officers who patrolled the
streets at night in unmarked cars and in plain clothes. In February 1999, a team of four SCU officers killed unarmed
African immigrant Amadou Diallo by firing 41 bullets at him as he was standing in the vestibule of his Bronx
apartment building.
7. CCR, “Floyd et al v City of New York et al,” http://ccrjustice.org/ourcases/current-cases/floyd-et-al.
8. Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), http://changethenypd.org/.
9. Between August 2011 and January 2012, CCR conducted 52 interviews in-person and two interviews over the
telephone. Interviewees were identified by community-based and grassroots organizations, activists, and direct service
providers. Some interviewees suggested other individuals for CCR to interview, creating a snowball interview sampling
method. Additional interviewees were randomly selected. Interviewees were asked questions based on a standard
26-question questionnaire, which was at times adapted in length to accommodate shorter length interviews. Those
interviewed represented a diverse group of individuals representative of a broad range of experiences of people stopped
by the NYPD. Individuals were asked to provide their preferred gender pronoun and describe their race or ethnicity for
the report, and those preferences have been reflected herein.
10. Francis Pakes, Comparative Criminal Justice, 2nd Ed., (Portland: Willan Publishing, 2010), 128. The United
States incarcerates 756 per 100,000 people. The next highest rates are Russia and China, respectively. For a general
discussion of the crisis of criminalization of people of color in the U.S. see Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow:
Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, (New York: New Press, 2010).
11.

Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968).

12.

The UF-250 Stop, Question and Frisk Report Worksheet, PD344-151A.

13. Jeffrey Fagan, PhD, Floyd v. City of New York, 08 Civ. 1034 (SAS) (SDNY), October 2010, 118. A copy of the form
that was in use from November 2002 to May 2011.
14. Ibid., The full text is available at http://ccrjustice.org/files/Expert_Report_JeffreyFagan.pdf. See also the May 16,
2012 class certification decision in Floyd at http://ccrjustice.org/floyd.
15.

Ibid., 63-65.

16. CCR, “2011 Stop and Frisk Statistics,” http://ccrjustice.org/files/CCR_Stop_Frisk_Factsheet-2011.pdf. “In 2011,
88 percent of all stops did not result in an arrest or a summons being given.” See also Fagan report, Floyd v. City of New
York, 66. The rate of arrests and summonses that resulted from stops and frisks from 2004 to 2009 was 11%.
17.

CCR interview with Will E. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 8, 2011.

18.

CCR interview with Ricky S. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 8, 2011.

19.

CCR interview with Michael P. (pseudonym), New York, New York, January 24, 2012.

20.

CCR interview with Juan L. (pseudonym), New York, New York, January 19, 2012.

21.

CCR interview with April R. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 8, 2011.

22.

See for example: CCR interview with Keenan H. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 7, 2011.

23.

Ibid.

24. Ibid. Fagan, Floyd v. City of New York, 3-4, 66. “Force was 14 percent more likely to be used in stops of Blacks
compared to White suspects, and 9.3 percent more likely for Hispanics.” See also CCR, “Racial Disparity in NYPD
Stops and Frisks,” http://ccrjustice.org/racial-disparity-nypd-stops-and-frisks. See also CCR, “Stop-and-Frisk: Fagan
Report Summary,” http://ccrjustice.org/files/Fagan%20Report%20Summary%20Final.pdf.
Stop and Frisk | CCR 27

25. As used in this report, the term transgender describes a person whose gender identity or expression differs from
societal expectations and/or from the sex they were assigned at birth.
26.

CCR interview with Maria P. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 8, 2011.

27.

CCR interview with Carl W. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 27, 2011.

28.

CCR interview with Miles K. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 29, 2011.

29.

CCR interview with Laverne I. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 27, 2011.

30.

Ibid.

31.

CCR interview with Maya S. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 8, 2011.

32.

CCR interview with Natasha A. (pseudonym), New York, New York, January 23, 2012.

33.

CCR interview with Maribel S. (pseudonym), New York, New York, August 31, 2011.

34. CCR interview with Angel V. (pseudonym), New York, New York, November 18, 2011. “It got to the point where I
have agreed to myself not to get any ethnic hairdos for a while, while I’m in that kind of neighborhood, because I have
been harassed by the police while wearing hair like in dreadlocks or cornrows.”
35.

CCR interview with Maria P. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 8, 2011.

36.

CCR interview with Mark K. (pseudonym), New York, New York, November 1, 2011.

37. Ailsa Chang, WNYC, “Police Commissioner Calls on NYPD to Stop Improper Marijuana
Arrests,” September 23, 2011, http://www.wnyc.org/articles/wnyc-news/2011/sep/23/
police-commissioner-calls-nypd-stop-improper-marijuana-arrests/.
38. NYTimes.com, “Cuomo Seeks Cut in Frisk Arrests,” June 3, 2012. “From 2002 to 2011, New York City recorded
400,000 low-level marijuana arrests.... That represented more arrests than under Mr. Bloomberg’s three predecessors
put together – a period of 24 years. Most of those arrested have been young black and Hispanic men, and most had no
prior criminal convictions.”
39. Li-Tzy Wu, George E. Woody, Chongming Yang, Jeng-Jong Pan, Dan G. Blazer, Racial/Ethnic Variations in
Substance-Related Disorders Among Adolescents in the United States, Archives of General Psychiatry, November 2011,
doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.120.
40. More information on the immigration consequences of arrests and convictions is available through the
Immigrant Defense Project, http://immigrantdefenseproject.org/.
41.

CCR interview with Laverne I. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 27, 2011.

42.

CCR interview with Theresa C. (pseudonym), New York, New York, October 12, 2011.

43.

CCR interview with Mark K. (pseudonym), New York, New York, November 1, 2011.

44.

CCR interview with Keith I. (pseudonym), New York, New York, November 16, 2011.

45. For a useful explanation see Columbia Law School’s Collateral Consequences Calculator, http://calculator.law.
columbia.edu/.
46.

CCR interview with Michael P. (pseudonym), New York, New York, January 24, 2012.

47.

Ibid.

48. The term “undomiciled” is used here to describe someone unable to secure stable housing without special
assistance. Individuals may identify as undomiciled due to the pejorative connotations associated with the term
‘homeless.’
49.

CCR interview with Oscar C. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 5, 2011.

50.

CCR interview with Juan L. (pseudonym), New York, New York, January 19, 2012.

51.

CCR interview with Laverne I. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 27, 2011.

52. CCR interview with Paulene J. (pseudonym), New York, New York, January 5, 2012. Paulene told CCR that her
hearing impaired grandson was tackled by NYPD and handcuffed when he had been riding a bike because he had been
unable to hear them when they yelled at him to stop.

28 Stop and Frisk | CCR

53.

CCR interview with Patrick B. (pseudonym), New York, New York, January 31, 2012.

54.

CCR interview with Brent C. (pseudonym), New York, New York, November 10, 2011.

55.

Fagan report, Floyd v. City of New York, 4, 25-29, 32-47.

56.

Ibid., 4, 63, 66.

57.

CCR interview with Mark K. (pseudonym), New York, New York, November 1, 2011.

58.

CCR interview with Natasha A. (pseudonym), New York, New York, January 23, 2012.

59.

CCR interview with Brent C. (pseudonym), New York, New York, November 10, 2011.

60.

CCR interview with April R. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 8, 2011.

61.

CCR interview with Maribel S. (pseudonym), New York, New York, August 31, 2011.

62.

CCR interview with April R. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 8, 2011.

63. Amnesty International (AI), Stonewalled: Police Abuse and Misconduct Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender People in the U.S., September 2005, 17-19. “AI has heard reports of widespread profiling of transgender
women as sex workers.” Available at http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR51/122/2005/en/2200113d-d4bd11dd-8a23-d58a49c0d652/amr511222005en.pdf. See also Joey Mogul, Andrea Ritchie, and Kay Whitlock, Queer (In)
Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States, (Boston: Beacon Press, 2011).
64.

CCR interview with Maya S. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 8, 2011.

65.

CCR interview with April R. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 8, 2011.

66.

CCR interview with Maria P. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 8, 2011.

67.

CCR interview with Natasha A. (pseudonym), New York, New York, January 23, 2012.

68.

CCR interview with Maribel S. (pseudonym), New York, New York, August 31, 2011.

69.

CCR interview with Roland L. (pseudonym), New York, New York, January 31, 2012.

70. Amnesty International, Stonewalled, 3. “Transgender people, particularly low-income transgender people of
color, experience some of the most egregious cases of police brutality reported to AI.”
71. See for example: PROS Network and Leigh Tomppert, Sex Workers Project, “Public Health Crisis: The
Impact of Using Condoms as Evidence of Prostitution in New York City,” April 2012, 8. Available at http://www.
sexworkersproject.org/downloads/2012/20120417-public-health-crisis.pdf. “According to the United States Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), consistent condom use is highly effective in preventing the transmission of
HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and reducing the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).”
72. New York City, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, “A Report to the New York City Commission of
Health,” December 8, 2010, (redacted version), 6. A redacted version of this study is attached as Appendix E to PROS
Network “Public Health Crisis,” above.
73.

CCR interview with Laverne I. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 27, 2011.

74.

UF-250 stop-and-frisk data from 2011, (unpublished).

75.

CCR interview with Brianna E. (pseudonym), New York, New York, August 31, 2011.

76.

CCR interview with Corey F. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 8, 2011.

77. See ACLU Racial Justice Project, “School to Prison Pipeline,” http://www.aclu.org/racial-justice/
school-prison-pipeline.
78.

CCR interview with Ben F. (pseudonym), New York, New York, January 18, 2012.

79.

CCR interview with Corey F. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 8, 2011.

80.

CCR interview with Mark K. (pseudonym), New York, New York, November 1, 2011.

81.

CCR interview with Peter J. (pseudonym), New York, New York, November 16, 2011.

82.

CCR interview with Carl W. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 27, 2011.

83.

CCR interview with Angel V. (pseudonym), New York, New York, November 18, 2011.

84.

CCR interview with Kareem S. (pseudonym), New York, New York, January 24, 2012.

85.

CCR interview with Maria P. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 8, 2011.

86.

CCR interview with Peter J. (pseudonym), New York, New York, November 16, 2011.

87. Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman, Associated Press, “With CIA Help, NYPD Moves
Covertly in Muslim Areas,” August 23, 2011, http://www.ap.org/Content/AP-In-The-News/2011/
With-CIA-help-NYPD-moves-covertly-in-Muslim-areas.
88.

CCR interview with Oscar C. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 5, 2011.

89.

Ibid.

90.

CCR interview with Michael P. (pseudonym), New York, New York, January 24, 2012.

91.

CCR interview with Oscar C. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 5, 2011.

92.

CCR interview with April R. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 8, 2011.

93.

CCR interview with Natasha A. (pseudonym), New York, New York, January 23, 2012.
Stop and Frisk | CCR 29

94.

CCR interview with Angel V. (pseudonym), New York, New York, November 18, 2011.

95.

CCR interview with Manny W. (pseudonym), New York, New York, October 13, 2011.

96.

CCR interview with Joey M. (pseudonym), New York, New York, September 30, 2011.

97.

CCR interview with Kym P. (pseudonym), New York, New York, October 27, 2011.

98.

CCR interview with Mark K. (pseudonym), New York, New York, November 1, 2011.

99.

CCR interview with Brian W. (pseudonym), New York, New York, November 16, 2011.

100. CCR interview with Thomas P. (pseudonym), New York, New York, January 18, 2012.
101. CCR interview with Laverne I. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 27, 2011.
102. CCR interview with Joey M. (pseudonym), New York, New York, September 30, 2011.
103. CCR interview with Maria P. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 8, 2011.
104. Ibid.
105. CCR interview with Natasha A. (pseudonym), New York, New York, January 23, 2012.
106. CCR interview with Brianna E. (pseudonym), New York, New York, August 31, 2011.
107. CCR interview with Manny W. (pseudonym), New York, New York, October 13, 2011.
108. CCR interview with Anthony T. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 12, 2011.
109. CCR interview with Will E. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 8, 2011.
110. CCR interview with Brian W. (pseudonym), New York, New York, November 16, 2011.
111. NYCHA is the New York City Housing Authority, which manages New York City’s public housing.
112. Fagan report, Floyd v. City of New York, 10. See also the NAACP-LDF and Legal Aid Society challenge to this
practice in Davis v. City of New York, 10 Civ. 669 (SAS) (SDNY). Bronx Defenders, the New York Civil Liberties Union
(NYCLU), Latino Justice, and attorney Chris Fabricant filed a federal lawsuit in March 2011 challenging the “clean
halls” program where landlords allow NYPD officers to enter into private apartment buildings and engage in stops of
residents. NYCLU, “Class Action Lawsuit Challenges NYPD Patrols of Private Apartment Buildings,” March 28, 2012.
Available at http://www.nyclu.org/news/class-action-lawsuit-challenges-nypd-patrols-of-private-apartment-buildings.
113. CCR interview with Laverne I. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 27, 2011.
114. CCR interview with Manny W. (pseudonym), New York, New York, October 13, 2011.
115. CCR interview with Samuel T. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 27, 2011.
116. CCR interview with Jon T. (pseudonym), New York, New York, November 11, 2011.
117. CCR interview with Miles K. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 29, 2011.
118. CCR interview with Duke S. (pseudonym), New York, New York, November 15, 2011.
119. CCR interview with Charles B. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 27, 2011.
120. Illinois v. Wardlow, 528 U.S. 119 (2000). The Court rejects a per se rule that mere presence in a high-crime area
creates reasonable suspicion.
121. Fagan report, Floyd v. City of New York, 53-4.
122. CCR interview with Joey M. (pseudonym), New York, New York, September 30, 2011.
123. CCR interview with Angel V. (pseudonym), New York, New York, November 18, 2011.
124. CCR interview with Angel V. (pseudonym), New York, New York, November 18, 2011. See also CCR interview
with Carl W. (pseudonym). “I feel like the police are there to get me, not to protect me from being robbed. They’re there
to say that I’m about to rob somebody and try and arrest me for it, over and over again.”
125. CCR interview with Roy F. (pseudonym), New York, New York, January 18, 2012.
126. CCR interview with Mark K. (pseudonym), New York, New York, November 1, 2011.
127. CCR interview with Curtis J. (pseudonym), New York, New York, January 31, 2012.
128. CCR interview with Hector S. (pseudonym), New York, New York, November 16, 2011.
129. CCR interview with Curtis J. (pseudonym), New York, New York, January 31, 2012.
130. CCR interview with Carl W. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 27, 2011.
131. CCR interview with Jon T. (pseudonym), New York, New York, November 11, 2011.
132. CCR interview with Laverne I. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 27, 2011.
30 Stop and Frisk | CCR

133. CCR, “Amicus Brief in Glik v. Cunniffe, et al,” http://ccrjustice.org/ourcases/current-cases/glik. CCR submitted
an amicus brief in Glik v. Cunniffe before the First Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of Berkeley Copwatch,
Communities United against Police Brutality, Justice Committee, Milwaukee Police Accountability Coalition,
Nodutdol for Korean Community Development, and Portland Copwatch. The brief argues that concerned individuals
and Copwatch groups have a First Amendment right to record public police activity. In September 2011, the judge
ruled for Glik in the case, saying his First Amendment rights had been violated.
134. CCR interview with Anthony T. (pseudonym), New York, New York, December 12, 2011.
135. Discrimination based on actual or perceived race, class, gender, gender identity and expression, sexuality,
ethnicity, language, religion, political or other opinion, national origin, age, housing status, income, or disability is
in violation of numerous human rights instruments and agreements including the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights (UDHR), Article 2; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Articles 2 and 3; the
International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), Articles 2 and 5; and the American
Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man (American Declaration), Article 2.
136. CERD, Article 5.
137. UDHR, Article 9; ICCPR, Article 9.
138. UDHR, Article 5; Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
(CAT), Article 16; ICCPR, Article 7; United Nations General Assembly Resolution 34/169 of December 17, 1979; “Code
of Conduct for Law Enforcement Agents,” Article 5, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/codeofconduct.htm.
139. UDHR, Article 12; ICCPR, Article 17.
140. UDHR, Article 13.
141. UDHR, Article 20; ICCPR, Article 22; American Declaration, Article 22.
142. UDHR, Article 19; ICCPR, Article 19.
143. UDHR, Article 7; ICCPR, Article 26.
144. UDHR, Articles 18 and 27; ICCPR, Articles 25 and 27; American Declaration, Articles 3 and 13.
145. UDHR, Article 23; ICCPR, Article 10; UN “Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Agents,” Article 2.
146. CERD, Article 2; ICCPR, Article 24.
147. ICERD, Article 5. See also the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) which,
though unsigned by the United States, provides a useful and legally relevant outline of international standards for
social and economic rights.
148. UN, “Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Agents.”
149. For example, CCR supports the Community Safety Act, which would help to address these issues.
150. Harold Koh, Legal Advisor, United States Department of State, “Memorandum for State Governors,” January
20, 2010, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/137292.pdf. “U.S. treaty obligations may apply to all levels of
government throughout the territory of the United States.”
151. Applicable international legal obligations are expressed in numerous treaties, declarations, and resolutions
including: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights (ICCPR), the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the Convention
Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), and the American
Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man (American Declaration).
152. UDHR, Article 2; ICCPR, Articles 2 and 3; CERD, Articles 2 and 5; American Declaration, Article 2.
153. UDHR, Articles 5 and 9; CAT, Article 16; ICCPR, Articles 7 and 9; UN, “Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement
Agents,” Article 5.
154. UDHR, Articles 7, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 23, and 27; ICCPR, Articles 10, 17, 19, 22, 25, 26 and 27; ICERD, Article 5;
American Declaration, Articles 3, 13, and 22; UN, “Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Agents,” Article 2.

Photo credits: page 1, Terraxplorer; page 3, Frederic Prochasson; page 4, Mike Cherim; page 6, Jay Lazarin; page 8,
Kuzma; page 9, Bart Sadowski; page 12, DNY59; page 13, Terraxplorer; page 14, Beth Ambrose; page 15, Kim Sohee;
page 18, Photobvious; page 20, Jay Lazarin; page 22, Nahal Zamani/CCR; page 25, Andrew Cribb
Stop and Frisk | CCR 31

To learn more, get involved, or support CCR’s work to end illegal stops and frisks,
visit the CCR website at www.CCRjustice.org.

 

 

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