May 9, 2024
May 9, 2024
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NYPD officers engaging in ‘unconstitutional policing’ with ‘stop and frisk’ initiative, federal monitor says

NYPD officers engaging in ‘unconstitutional policing’ with ‘stop and frisk’ initiative, federal monitor says

New Initiative in New York City Raises Concerns Over Stop and Frisk Tactics

A recent report from a court-appointed federal monitor has raised alarms about New York City’s use of “stop and frisk” tactics in an effort to address gun violence. The monitor, Mylan Denerstein, criticized the NYPD’s Neighborhood Safety Teams for engaging in what she deemed as “unconstitutional policing” by conducting excessive stops and frisks without proper justification.

Denerstein highlighted that in one police precinct, a significant percentage of stops, frisks, and searches were found to be unlawful. These Neighborhood Safety Teams, established as a replacement for anti-crime units disbanded in 2021, focus their efforts in 34 high-crime areas, predominantly impacting communities of color. Shockingly, Denerstein noted that 97% of individuals stopped by these teams were Black or Hispanic.

While city officials, including Mayor Eric Adams, expressed reservations about Denerstein’s methodology, they acknowledged the positive impact of the Neighborhood Safety Teams in reducing shootings. Mayor Adams’ spokesperson, Fabien Levy, emphasized the enhanced training and oversight provided to officers to safeguard both public safety and civil liberties. Levy underscored the city’s commitment to eliminating any unconstitutional stops and striving for continuous improvement in serving New Yorkers.

Denerstein initiated her review following the deployment of Neighborhood Safety Teams by Mayor Adams earlier this year. Despite the teams’ specialized training, Denerstein found a concerning pattern of non-compliance in stops, frisks, and searches, indicating a high rate of unlawful actions.

The history of stop and frisk in New York City dates back to a controversial period when a federal judge ruled in 2013 that the NYPD’s practices disproportionately targeted Black and Hispanic individuals, constituting a form of indirect racial profiling. This ruling led to a significant decrease in stops, with the department reporting a substantial decline from a peak of nearly 686,000 stops in 2011 to an average of around 11,730 per year from 2016 to 2022.

Despite these changes, data from the NYPD compiled by the New York Civil Liberties Union revealed that Black and Hispanic individuals continued to make up the majority of stops in 2022, accounting for 89% of all stops. This ongoing disparity underscores the persistent challenges in addressing racial biases within law enforcement practices.

In conclusion, the debate surrounding the use of stop and frisk tactics in New York City reflects broader concerns about racial profiling and the balance between public safety and civil liberties. As the city grapples with these complex issues, continued oversight and accountability are essential to ensure equitable and effective policing strategies.

NYPD officers engaging in ‘unconstitutional policing’ with ‘stop and frisk’ initiative, federal monitor says

In recent years, the New York Police Department (NYPD) has come under scrutiny for its controversial ‘stop and frisk’ initiative, which has been criticized for disproportionately targeting minority communities and violating individuals’ constitutional rights. A federal monitor appointed to oversee the NYPD’s reforms has found that officers have been engaging in ‘unconstitutional policing’ practices, further fueling concerns about racial profiling and civil rights violations.

The ‘stop and frisk’ initiative

The ‘stop and frisk’ initiative, implemented by the NYPD in the early 2000s, allows officers to temporarily detain and search individuals they suspect of carrying weapons or involved in criminal activity. While proponents argue that the policy helps reduce crime and keep communities safe, critics claim that it leads to systemic racial profiling and unjustified stops, particularly among Black and Latino men.

Key issues raised by the federal monitor

  • The federal monitor found that some NYPD officers were engaging in ‘unconstitutional policing’ practices during stops, including racial profiling and unjustified searches.
  • Officers were found to be stopping individuals based on their race or ethnicity rather than reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
  • There were instances of officers using excessive force during stops, further exacerbating tensions between law enforcement and the community.

Implications for civil rights and public safety

The findings by the federal monitor raise serious concerns about the NYPD’s adherence to constitutional principles and respect for individuals’ rights. The prevalence of ‘unconstitutional policing’ practices not only undermines trust in law enforcement but also erodes the legitimacy of the criminal justice system as a whole.

Benefits and practical tips

It is essential for law enforcement agencies to prioritize training officers on constitutional rights and proper procedures for conducting stops and searches. Enhanced oversight and accountability mechanisms can help prevent abuses of power and ensure that policing practices respect the rights and dignity of all individuals.

Case studies

In recent years, several high-profile cases of police misconduct and civil rights violations have spotlighted the need for reforms in policing practices. From the tragic deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor to the prevalence of racial profiling and excessive use of force, these cases underscore the urgency of addressing systemic issues within law enforcement agencies.

Firsthand experience

Individuals who have been subjected to ‘stop and frisk’ encounters can provide valuable insights into the impact of such practices on their lives and communities. By sharing their experiences, they can raise awareness about the need for reform and accountability in policing and advocate for justice and equity for all.


The findings of the federal monitor regarding ‘unconstitutional policing’ practices by NYPD officers underscore the importance of upholding constitutional rights and ensuring accountability in law enforcement. By addressing systemic issues and promoting transparency and oversight, we can strive to create a more just and equitable society for all.



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