Dr. Delores Jones-Brown, the founding director of the Center on Race, Crime and Justice at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, discusses a report on “stop, question, and frisk policies” in New York City in an interview with Jon Lentz.
The report, released last week, is an update of a primer released in 2010 with statistics compiled mainly from the NYPD website over the past three years.
The center’s analysis of the data clashes with many of the recent claims made by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. Speaking on his weekly radio show in late June, Bloomberg claimed that whites are actually stopped and frisked at a higher rate than blacks when factoring in who is committing violent crimes.
Dr. Jones-Brown disagreed with Bloomberg’s assertion and also his claim that officers were stopping and frisking people based on suspect descriptions.
“Eighty-five percent of stops do not involve in a description means that that particular statement is accurate,” she said.
The updated primer highlights several other figures. It calculates that blacks and Latinos are 15 percent more likely to be frisked than whites whenever they are stopped. Jones-Brown said this suggests that police officers are incorrectly assuming that blacks and Latinos are more likely to be armed or dangerous than whites.
“The frisk is only legally permissible on the suspicion that there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is armed or otherwise dangerous,” she said. “What we find however, is that most frisks only uncover small amounts of marijuana.”
Earlier this month on Last Look, New York City Patrolmen Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch weighed in on the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactics. He called on the NYPD to do away with any quotas requiring officers to make a certain number of stops and to fill out the required form, a UF-250.
Jones-Brown said that quotas–which the NYPD denies exist–are leading to unfounded stops. What’s more, she said he had heard from officer that some are even filling out falsified forms.
“I have taught police officers at the college for about 10 years in a special leadership program that we have,” she said, ”and I can tell you that those officers say that because they feel under pressure to produce a certain number of UF-250s.”