According to recently released data from the New York Civil Liberties Union, it has been found that Black and Latinx drivers are more prone to being stopped, arrested, and searched by NYPD officers during traffic stops.
According to reports, the NYPD tends to stop drivers more frequently in specific neighbourhoods. This disparity has been a subject of concern for many, as it suggests a potential bias in law enforcement practices.
The NYCLU obtained the traffic stop records from the NYPD after filing a lawsuit. The data reveals that from January 2022 to June 2023, the NYPD conducted over one million traffic stops. Shockingly, Black and Latinx drivers made up 32% and 29% of these stops, even though they only represent 22% of the driving population. Furthermore, the data indicates that almost 90% of people stopped by the police were either Black or Latinx.
According to the data, Brooklyn had the highest number of stops, followed by Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Interestingly, almost half of the drivers who were stopped were under the age of 35.
According to Ify Chikezie, a New York Civil Liberties Union staff attorney, police officers have been given unrestricted authority when making traffic stops by the courts.
During a recent interview with News 12 over Zoom, Chikezie expressed concern over police officers using their discretion to harm Black and brown communities. Chikezie pointed out that frequent encounters with cops can devastate individuals and communities, especially when officers choose to use their discretion in ways that disproportionately affect people of colour.
Unfortunately, there have been far too many cases where police officers have killed Black and brown individuals for doing things as simple as driving or sitting in a car while being Black. Despite attempts to obtain a response from the NYPD, News 12 did not receive any comment. The NYPD has previously stated that they do not consider race or ethnicity in their work and that officers are not required to make a certain number of stops.
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