Attorney General: NYPD’s Stop and Frisk Policy Has Conviction Rate of Three Percent

According to a November 2013 report released by the New York State Attorney General’s office, only three percent of people arrested as a result of stop and frisk pled guilty or were convicted of a crime. The study, titled “A Report on Arrests Arising from the New York City Police Department’s Stop-and-Frisk Policies,” analyzed stop and frisk data obtained from the NYPD and the Office of Court Administration from 2009 through 2012. The report’s aim was to study what happened to individuals who were arrested as a result of the NYPD’s policy. During the four year period, the NYPD conducted 2.4 million stops. Of those stops, 150,000 people–six percent–were actually arrested. Of those arrested, only three percent were actually convicted of a crime.

According to the report, most convictions–40 percent–that were a result of stop and frisk were quality-of-life crimes involving graffiti or disorderly conduct. Thirty-three percent of the stop and frisk convictions were related to drugs, trespassing or property crimes. However, only one in sixteen arrests, or 0.3 percent, resulted in jail time for more than 30 days. In addition, only one in 50 arrests, or 0.1 percent, led to a conviction of a violent crime. Similarly, only 0.1 percent of stop and frisk arrests led to convictions for possessing a weapon.

Furthermore, the report revealed that almost half of all stop and frisk arrests resulted in no conviction because many cases weren’t prosecuted, many cases were dismissed, or many cases were dismissed if the defendant agreed not to commit another crime for one year. Almost 25 percent of those arrested had their cases dismissed even before they were arraigned.

The report, which pointed to the fact that a disproportionate number of those stopped were black or Latino, also concluded that the stop and frisk policies had negative consequences for those arrested as well as for law enforcement and judicial institutions. For instance, some people arrested suffered a job loss, loss of housing, loss of a student loan or a change in their immigration status as a result of being arrested. In addition, New York City saw a large uptick in lawsuits alleging constitutional violations by the NYPD. In 2009, the NYPD had the largest number of legal settlements in the country. As a result of these findings, the report concluded, “These findings merit consideration in the broader discussion of the efficacy of stop and frisk as a law enforcement tool.”

Commenting on the report, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman remarked, “My office’s analysis of the city’s stop and frisk practices has broad implications for law enforcement, both in New York City and across the state. It’s our hope that this report–the first of its kind–will advance the discussion about how to fight crime without overburdening our institutions or violating equal justice under the law.”

The study can be accessed here.

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