Bronx: Rise In Stop-And Frisk, NYPD Transparency Legislation Discussed At Town Hall

The How Many Stops Act (HMSA), sponsored by Williams, Aviles and Hudson, is common sense legislation that will bring critical transparency to the NYPD’s daily activities in our communities. With stop-and-frisk at an all-time high since 2015 and millions of NYPD stops going unreported, HMSA will empower New Yorkers to understand how, where, when, why and whom the NYPD is stopping and interacting with on a daily basis.

 

“NYPD stop-and-frisk practices were found to be unconstitutional a decade ago, yet the NYPD’s unlawful, traumatizing and dangerous stops of New Yorkers are on the rise under the current administration. In this context, the full transparency brought by the How Many Stops Act is more urgent than ever and an essential step towards police accountability and true community safety,” said Communities United for Police Reform spokesperson Chauvet Bishop, organizer for the Justice Committee.HMSA is endorsed by both the Black Latino Asian Caucus and the Progressive Caucus, a hundred organizations across the city, and 26 family members of New Yorkers killed by the NYPD and is co-sponsored by more than a majority of council members. The Speaker and City Council must pass both bills of the How Many Stops Act this year and the mayor must sign them into law. Any further delay is unacceptable.”

 

“We all have a fundamental right to live and be safe in our communities and free from harassment, but the New York City Police Department continues to threaten and harm Black and brown people in the Bronx,” said Christine Rivera, Adolescent Staff Attorney & Policy Counsel in the Criminal Defense Practice for The Bronx Defenders. “According to the federal monitor for the NYPD, only 41 percent of stops, 32 percent of frisks, and twenty-six percent of the searches performed by Neighborhood Street Team officers in the 41st precinct were lawful in 2022. The NYPD’s racial discrimination against marginalized communities does not keep anyone safe. It violates the law and our values. We urge New Yorkers to support the How Many Stops Act.”  

 

Currently, the NYPD is only required to report on level 3 stops, commonly known as stop-and-frisk. Almost 90% of those stopped are Black and Latino/a/x residents. According to a recent report by the federal monitor for the NYPD,  Mayor Adam’s revamp of the Anti-Crime unit, also called  Neighborhood Safety Teams (NSTs), are a significant part of what’s driving the rise. NST stops in the Bronx have some of the greatest racial disparities, with 97% of those stops being Black or Latinx. In the Bronx’s 41st Precinct, 59% of stops, 68% of frisks, and 74% of searches made by officers were unlawful.

 

These are just the stops the NYPD is currently required to report. Entire categories of stops – referred to as level 1 and 2 by the NYPD, which constitute millions of interactions – go unreported. Given these disparities and the grave harms caused by unnecessary and potentially violent police encounters, advocates are demanding that the NYPD be required to report every stop they make.

 

“Passing the bills in the How Many Stops Act is vital for advancing community safety and the work that has been underway since I came into government over a decade ago. Effectively producing public safety based on results, not hysteria, means getting critical information about whether and how policing reforms are being implemented on the ground in our communities. Sharing data on the number and nature of law enforcement stops, including geographic and demographic information as well as reporting on the outcomes of these encounters, will help to improve transparency and accountability. It’s past time to put these measures into practice and enshrine them into law,” said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, co-sponsor of Intro. 586.

 

“Intro. 586, known as the How Many Stops Act (HMSA), is far from a radical proposal. Reporting this information would potentially only require the push of a few buttons and similar kinds of tagging during reviews of body cam footage is already a regular practice in the department. While HMSA won’t bring back the neighbors we’ve lost to police violence, it will shed light on the demographics of residents profiled during low level encounters. The City Council must act,” said Councilmember Alexa Aviles, co-sponsor of Intro. 586.

 

“The How Many Stops Act is a common sense, good government package that will bring much-needed transparency to the NYPD,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson, Sponsor of Intro. 538“We must assure our communities that the NYPD is not above accountability and that our City is committed to ending the culture of impunity and abuse that pervades the department. This package will give New Yorkers a more complete picture of the NYPD’s activities in our communities, mandating the full and accurate reporting of police interactions with the public, and ensure the NYPD is adhering to the City’s Right to Know Act, creating safer communities for us all.”

 

HMSA will require the NYPD to report on all police street stops and investigative encounters, including where they happen, demographic information on the person stopped, the reason for the encounter, and whether the encounter leads to any use of force or enforcement action. It would also require the NYPD to fully report on their use of consent searches, searches in which a police officer needs no probable cause to search a person or their belongings if the person gives permission. Together, the bills will give a fuller and clearer picture into how the NYPD is interacting with New Yorkers across the city.

 

“The NYPD is using baseless fear-mongering to try to stop the How Many Stop Act from passing. They are saying this kind of reporting is going to bury officers under paperwork, when all it takes is a few clicks on officers’ phones.  The NYPD is not worried about burdening officers, they are afraid of transparency and being held accountable. The How Many Stops Act should have been passed months or even years ago. The Speaker and City Council must pass both bills and the mayor must sign them into law before the end of the year. Anything else is unacceptable,” said Samy Feliz, brother of Allan Feliz who was killed by the NYPD in 2019.

 

“Full NYPD transparency of the NYPD’s most common interactions with New Yorkers is what’s right and it’s common sense. The How Many Stops Act bills are so common sense that when some of us families met with Mayor-elect Eric Adams before he took office, he told us he would support them. However, the mayor is showing his true colors: under him stop-and-frisk is surging and his NYPD is trying to block the How Many Stops Act from moving forward. This is unacceptable,” said Gladys Williams, stepmother of Antonio Williams who was killed by the NYPD in 2019.

 

The NYPD murdered my son, Antonio Williams, during one of the so-called “low-level” stops covered by the How Many Stops Act. The Anti-Crime unit that killed Antonio was disbanded because of its brutality, but Mayor Adams brought it back and rebranded it the “Neighborhood Safety Teams.” These are the units that are running rampant in Bronx communities and are a huge part of causing the rise of unconstitutional stops that we’re seeing during this administration. This is why passing the How Many Stops Act this year is so urgent and dozens of family members of New Yorkers killed by the NYPD have endorsed the bills,” said Shawn Williams, father of Antonio Williams who was killed by the NYPD in 2019.

 

“Our communities must have confidence that those patrolling them are held accountable. If the NYPD is supposed to be playing a crucial role in ensuring community safety, accountability should be a mutual commitment. Our youth, families, and communities deserve a comprehensive understanding of NYPD practices. If any of those practices are evading accountability and going unnoticed, they can never be considered trustworthy. This raises serious concerns,” saidBelinda Ramos, Executive Director, Community Connections for Youth.

 

“While stop and frisk policies no longer exist in name, communities of color, including the Southeast Asian community in the Bronx, know that police harassment and abuse continue to happen on a regular basis. We need transparency and reporting on police stops at ALL levels to ensure the safety of New Yorkers when interacting with the NYPD, especially for our Black and brown neighbors. Mekong NYC urges the New York City Council to pass the How Many Stops Act, and the Mayor to sign this critical policy into law,” said Kim To, acting executive director of Mekong NYC.

 

“Time and again, it is shown that the enforcement activities of the NYPD are too often unlawful, and they disproportionately impact Black New Yorkers,” said LDF Justice in Public Safety Legal Fellow David Moss. “Unfortunately, current law does not require the NYPD to report on the vast majority of encounters they initiate every day. The How Many Stops Act will provide much needed transparency into the NYPD’s policing practices, which is an important step on the road to just and equitable public safety. We urge for the swift passage and signing of this critical legislation.”

About Communities United for Police Reform

Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory policing practices in New York, and to build a lasting movement that promotes public safety and reduces reliance on policing. CPR runs coalitions of over 200 local, statewide and national organizations, bringing together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change. The partners in this campaign come from all 5 boroughs, from all walks of life and represent many of those most unfairly targeted by the NYPD.

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