NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The New York Civil Liberties Union has used the NYPD’s own statistics to dispute the police department claim that the stop-and-frisk program effectively takes guns off the streets.
“This is a program about putting fear into and disrupting the lives of young men of color and it’s about going after marijuana. It is not about going after guns because it just doesn’t work that way,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman.
Lieberman pointed out that in 2003, there was one gun recovered for every 254 people stopped, for a total of 633 guns. In 2012, with an additional 372,060 stops, only 96 more guns were recovered.
“Leave it to Donna, after the shooting deaths of D’Aja Robinson and Marc Carson, to diminish the importance of taking 796 guns off the street last year,” said Paul Browne, chief NYPD spokesman, referring to a pair of killings Saturday.
Carson was shot as he walked with a companion through Greenwich Village, and police say it was a hate crime because he was gay. Fourteen-year-old D’Aja was felled by a bullet through the window of a city bus in Queens. Police don’t believe she was the intended target.
There werre 532,911 stops in 2012, which was a 22 percent decrease from the prior year. The report said they were spread unevenly amongst the city’s 76 police precincts.
The 75th Precinct in East New York, Brooklyn led the city with 24,408 stops. The 17th Precinct in Kips Bay, Manhattan had the fewest, 1,331. That excludes the Central Park Precinct.
The NYCLU also said the program is an unconstitutional assault on the dignity and freedom of young black and Hispanic men.
EXTRA: Read The Report (PDF)
The NYPD defended the program, saying that 86.6 percent of the stops in 2012 were of blacks and Hispanics because 90 percent of the violent crimes are committed in minority neighborhoods.
But Lieberman said the police are not targeting violent crimes.
“And the single most frequent arrest is for misdemeanor possession of marijuana,” Lieberman said. “There is nobody – either a sociologist or a criminologist – there is nobody in their right mind that can tell me that possession of marijuana is associated with a tendency to violence.”
A federal judge is set to decide whether the stop-and-frisk program is discriminatory.
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