BROWNSVILLE, N.Y. (WPIX)—Virtually everyone in one section of Brooklyn's Brownsville neighborhood has either been stopped, questioned and frisked by the police, or they know someone who has, according to a report in the the New York Times.
The analysis also shows that the overwhelming majority of people stopped and frisked by the NYPD have committed no crime.
The statistics on the stop and frisk tactic were obtained from the NYPD by the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights. They show that in the area bounded by Livonia Avenue, Sutter Avenue, Rockaway Avenue and Powell Street had 52,000 stops between January 2006 and March 2010. That averages nearly one stop a year for every person who lives in the eight-block area.
The New York Times' analysis also shows that citywide, seven out of 100 residents got stopped and frisked by police.
By comparison, the eight blocks in Brownsville saw 93 out of 100 residents get stopped, but only about 1 percent of the people stopped, actually got arrested. In other words, 99 percent of people who get stopped are innocent. Citywide, about 6 percent of people who get stopped and frisked get arrested.
The NYPD defends its practice of having cops stop, physically search people and record their names and addresses in Brownsville, saying that the neighborhood that has traditionally had high murder, shooting and drug dealing rates has gotten safer over recent years.
That's not satisfying some residents who have been stopped and frisked themselves. PIX 11 News encountered a group of a half-dozen young men at the corner of Livonia and Mother Gaston Blvd., in the heart of the area in question. According to those men, each of them have been stopped and frisked at least once, most multiple times in recent weeks.
"They're pulling people over just because of the colors they're wearing. That's harassment to me," one of the men, who did not want to be identified, told PIX 11 News.
His friend, Preston "Cash" Johnson, a man in his twenties wearing a dark purple Yankees cap, added, as he pointed to his friend's red cap and shirt, and then his own attire.
"These could be two gang colors. Purple is a Crips color, and red is the bloods. But it's only this color (the police) care about," Johnson said as he pointed to the skin on his face, "They've gone crazy just 'cuz we're black."
Numbers from the New York Civil Liberties Union show that blacks and Hispanics are by far stopped most often. But not everyone in the affected section of Brownsville feels the practice is wrong. Alexis Rice told PIX 11 News, "I feel actually safe about frisking because of the high crime rate. I was actually robbed. If it's going to make the neighborhood safe, that's what we need to do."
Both houses of the New York legislature passed bills last month that would restrict the NYPD from keeping in a database the personal information it collects from people whom its officers stop and frisk. The police department and Mayor Michael Bloomberg are urging Governor David Paterson to veto the bills, saying the database has helped the NYPD solve crimes and that it helps to keep New York City's crime rate low.