New data released by the New York City Police Department shows that police stopped and frisked more people in 2011 than any other year in history.
The numbers are staggering -- 684,330 people were stopped by the police. That's a 14 percent increase when compared with the year before and a 600 percent increase since 2002, the first year the NYPD began collecting data on its stop-and-frisk policies.
The police tactic has long been criticized as racial profiling by organizations like the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Though Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has said officers target the most crime-ridden neighborhoods, 87 percent of those people stopped in 2011 were black or Latino, according to the police statistics.
"Last year alone, the NYPD stopped enough totally innocent New Yorkers to fill Madison Square Garden more than 30 times over," NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said. "It is not a crime to walk down the street in New York City, yet every day innocent black and brown New Yorkers are turned into suspects for doing just that."
Stop-and-frisk was introduced under the administration of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, but it has been stepped up over the last decade. The NYPD has conducted more than 4.3 million street stops under Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration, according to the NYCLU. The majority of those stops, 88 percent, did not lead to an arrest or summons.
Floyd, et al. v. City of New York, et al. is a class-action law suit currently underway that challenges stop and frisk tactics as illegal acts of racial profiling.
"We allege that the NYPD’s practice of stop-and-frisk is unconstitutional because the NYPD has a policy and/or practice of engaging in stop and frisk without reasonable suspicion, which is required by the Fourth Amendment" said Sunita Patel, a CCR attorney who is litigating the case. "People of color are disproportionately impacted by the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy."