Posts Tagged ‘greg b. smith’

NY Daily News Exposes NYPD’s Excessive Use of Force

June 14, 2008

Interesting analysis on Police Use of Force by the NYPD. I will be teaching a lesson to 8th graders about the use of force; when it is necessary and when it is excessive this upcoming Monday. For that reason I find it interesting that I found this article, maybe I will print it out for my students.

This article reminds me why we must never forget our fallen soldiers like Sean Bell and Amadou Diallo. It is because of the excessive practices of the NYPD that these two men are not here today. Just some quick facts cops are allowed to use physical force when they are making an arrest, when they fear that a suspect is trying to escape from custody and when they feeel physically threatened.

In the article below you will see scenarios that are the exact opposite of what I have described.

Cops use force – from restraint to drawn guns – in 20% of stops, data show

BY BENJAMIN LESSER and GREG B. SMITH
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

Saturday, June 14th 2008, 1:45 PM
About 20% of all stops made by the NYPD involved ‘use of force’ in 2006, the only year for which statistics are available. Listort for News

About 20% of all stops made by the NYPD involved ‘use of force’ in 2006, the only year for which statistics are available.

One in five New Yorkers stopped by police in 2006 encountered some use of force, from simple restraint to facing a drawn service weapon, a Daily News analysis of new data found.

In 102,000 of the more than 500,000 police stops – about 20% – cops did things such as restrained people, threw them to the ground or against a wall or pointed a gun at them, the newly released data show.

The NYPD has refused to release use-of-force data in previous and subsequent years.

In nine out of 10 police stops involving use of force in 2006, the suspects were not arrested.

“Force is liberally defined to include such things as placing the individual on a wall for a pat down, or on a car, or on the ground or handcuffing whether an arrest is made [or] not,” NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.

The data make clear that cops appear to pull their weapons fairly frequently without making arrests, The News found.

About 2,700 police stops wound up with an officer pulling his weapon on a suspect, records show. Of those stops, only 553 ended with an arrest. That means in four out of five stops where a weapon was drawn, no arrest was made.

Until now, the NYPD has released only limited information on why, where and how its officers stop and question citizens suspected of unlawful activity. Use-of-force details have never been made public.

They surfaced in internal data the NYPD turned over to researchers at the University of Michigan. In recent days, researchers posted much of the information on the Web.

The use-of-force statistics offer a more detailed picture of the NYPD’s increased use of police stops to combat crime. Civil liberties groups concerned about illegal police stops have sued to obtain all the data.

“The data confirms our worst fears,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “The NYPD is stopping, interrogating and searching hundreds of thousands of innocent New Yorkers.”

In all police stops, the officer must have what’s called “probable cause” to legally stop and question a person. That usually means the cops have information about a subject, are investigating a crime nearby or witness suspicious behavior.

The data reveal a wide variety of reasons to justify a stop, ranging from suspected terrorism to rent gouging.

Terrorism was the reason given for stopping and questioning citizens in 301 cases in 2006. Only one of the “terrorism” stops resulted in an arrest.

The actual charge in that case remains a mystery – all arrest details were erased from the data.

The most common reason for stopping and questioning a citizen in 2006 was suspicion the person was carrying a weapon. That was the justification 114,000 times.

Other reasons were more unusual. Twice, for instance, “adultery” was offered as justification for a police stop. Once it was “rent gouging.”

The data also revealed that more than 2,000 senior citizens were stopped.

blesser@nydailynews.com