Black and minority ethnic people were nine times more likely to be stopped by the police in New York in 2009, new research has revealed.
In the UK, black people are seven times more likely to be stopped and searched.
Known as ‘stop and frisks’ in the US, a record 575,000 people were stopped and searched last year.
The most common reason for the stops given by NY police was because of ‘furtive movements’.
The Center for Constitutional Rights (sic), which sued the city for the information on stop and frisks after the 1999 killing of Haitian Amadou Diallo, said its analysis of the 2009 data showed again what it argues is the racially driven use of the tactic against minorities and its relatively modest crime-fighting achievements.
“These are not unconstitutional,” Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, told the New York Times. “We are saving lives, and we are preventing crime.”
According to the analysis of the 2009 raw data by the CCR, nearly 490,000 black and minority ethnic people were stopped by the police on the streets last year, versus 53,000 whites.
However the research showed that rates of arrest were virtually the same. Whites were arrested in slightly more than 6 percent of the stops, black people in slightly fewer than 6 percent. Roughly 1.7 percent of whites who were stopped were found to have a weapon, while 1.1 percent of black people were found with one.
Campaigners have argued that the reasons for the police officers decision to stop an individual were very important.
In examining the stated reasons for the stops, as checked off by police officers on department forms, the CCR found that about 15 percent of the stops last year cited: ‘fits a relevant description.’ Officers can check off more than one reason, but in nearly half the stops, the category called ‘furtive movements’ was cited. Nearly 30 percent of stops cited a category called ‘casing a victim or location’; nearly 19 percent cited a catchall category of ‘other.’
“These stats suggest that racial disparities in who gets stopped has more to do with officer bias and discretion than with crime rates, which is what the Police Department argues,” said Darius Charney, a lawyer with the Center for Center for Constitutional Rights.