Documents obtained by The News show Schneiderman has met at least twice in recent months with top staff to discuss the NYPD program, which reached a record high 685,724 stops in 2011 and has led to criticism of racial bias.
Schneiderman pledged in his 2010 campaign for attorney general to crack down on “unjustified stop-and-frisk practices.”
His spokesman declined comment. But a source with knowledge of the review said a “working group” inside the attorney general’s office is analyzing records of stops, including racial breakdowns of those who were subjected to the practice. A decision has not been made to proceed with a more expansive analysis, similar to one released by then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer in 1999.
“They’re still very early in the process,” the source said. “They’re looking at publicly available data and trying to determine whether an updated report is warranted.”
The Spitzer report concluded blacks and Latinos were being stopped and sometimes frisked in disproportionate numbers. Even in precincts that were, at the time, 90% white, more than half of those stopped were black or Latinos.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne also declined to comment, but police brass have long argued stop-and-frisk is an important crime-fighting tool.
Kelly spoke about the program in general at an unrelated event Tuesday, defending it as a “life-saving tactic.” He noted there have been 51% fewer murders in the past 10 years than in the prior decade.
“We know what we’re doing is saving lives,” Kelly declared.
A recent report by the New York Civil Liberties Union found that of the record number of stops in 2011, 88% did not end in a criminal charge or issuance of a summons. In 2010, the state Legislature blocked the NYPD from keeping a computer database of personal information of people who were stopped but not accused of wrongdoing.
“There is no question that stop-and-frisk is the source of massive civil liberties violations and affronts to human dignities day in and day out,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman.
BY THE NUMBERS
In 2011: 685,724 people stopped by the NYPD*
53% (350,743 people) were black
34% (223,740 people) were Latino
9% (61,805 people) were white
88% (605,328 people) were not arrested or given a summons
819 guns recovered
In 2003: 160,851 people stopped by the NYPD
54% (77,704 people) were black
31% (44,581 people) were Latino
12% (17,623 people) were white
87% (140,442 people) were not arrested or given a summons