Most people think we won the stop-and-frisk case in 2013, when a federal court ruled the New York City Police Department’s use of the practice was unconstitutional.
But as the lawyers in the case, our work isn’t done. Ultimate victory depends on whether we reform the police practices that drove unlawful stops and arrests.
In the court-ordered reform process, improvements to police discipline and supervision are on the chopping block. Without these changes, we fear unlawful stops will explode again.
This isn’t theoretical. Though the number of stops has declined, department audits reveal that officers fail to record them up to 73 percent of the time. Among the stops that do get recorded, racial disparities persist at rates similar to when stop-and-frisk was at its peak. Over 80 percent of people stopped are black or Latino. And controlling for crime rates, the police patrol much more aggressively in black and Latino neighborhoods compared to white ones.
Read the full op-ed here.