New report questions NYPD's 'Stop and Frisk'

October 26, 2010 3:12:34 PM PDT
A new report is calling into question the legality of the NYPD's Stop and Frisk policy.

The study by a Columbia University law professor makes the claim that the highly-touted crime fighting tool is based on race, not crime.

It's a rather damning report that challenges the NYPD's claims that stopping and frisking hundreds of thousands of people every year is constitutional.

The findings claim the practice is actually targeting blacks and Latinos and yields few results.

To the NYPD, Its "Stop and Frisk" practice is one of its greatest crime fighting tools.

To many of those stopped, it seems like racial profiling.

Now, a new report by a Columbia University Law Professor finds race may drive the policy.

Professor Jeffrey Fagan analyzed 2.7 million stops made during a 6 year period and found police "often used race in lieu of reasonable suspicion" to make the stops.

7% of the time, data he says, shows police had no legal justification for the stops.

24% of the time, the stops lacked enough details to assess whether they were constitutional.

"That's a huge problem and means hundreds of thousands of people are having their rights violated," said Darius Charney, of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

The Center for Constitutional Rights commissioned the study which also found that 50% of the time people were stopped for the vague reason of "furtive movements".

6% of the stops led to arrests and most surprising, in less than 1% of the stops were any guns found.

"A rate of .1% of the time finding an illegal gun on someone they stop really calls into question the effectiveness of this practice and really the purpose of it," Charney said.

"Had me against the wall and pat me down," said Emmanuel Candelario, a Fordham graduate student.

Earlier this year, Candelario told Eyewitness News how he had been stopped and frisked at least 10 times in the last five years.

"It's a really big problem, you feel unsafe when police are around because at any time you might get stopped frisked," Candelario said.

The NYPD insists "Stop and Frisk" has made the city one of the nation's safest.

"I am proud of the men and women of the NYPD, I know they're saving lives," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

The report is part of an ongoing lawsuit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights against the city.

The city is expected to come out with its own "Stop and Frisk" study in the coming weeks.