BY MICHAEL P. VENTURA, MURRAY WEISS AND JEFF MAYS
NEW YORK CITY — Donald Trump touted stop-and-frisk as an essential crime fighting tool during the first presidential debate against Hillary Clinton on Monday night — bringing an issue that has been controversial in New York for years into the national spotlight.
Trump hailed the tactic — which the NYPD dropped and a federal judge ruled was unconstitutional — as a way to restore "law and order" to the nation and said, if elected, he would use it in cities like Chicago where shootings are rampant.
Last summer, the Chicago Police Department agreed to keep detailed records of every street stop after the American Civil Liberties Union issued a scathing report about CPD's stop-and-frisk practices. Since the new rules calling for more training — and more paperwork — have been put in place, street stops in Chicago are down by an estimated 95 percent.
Some blamed the new ACLU rules for slowing stops and a spike in crime in Chicago, but as DNAinfo New York reported in its groundbreaking investigative reporting on stop-and-frisk over the years, the practice did not effectively fight crime there.
Here's what was uncovered:
STOP-AND-FRISKS DID LITTLE TO REDUCE SHOOTINGS
At its peak during Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration, the NYPD conducted nearly 700,000 stop-and-frisks in 2011, according to police data. In that year, there were 1,821 shooting incidents reported by the NYPD, roughly the same number — 1,892 — as 2002 when Bloomberg took office and there were roughly 100,000 frisks.
STOP-AND-FRISKS DIDN'T PULL MORE GUNS OFF THE STREET
Despite the 600 percent increase in stop-and-frisks between 2002 and 2011, fewer guns were taken off the street, NYPD data showed. In 2002, roughly 4,069 guns were taken off the street compared to 3,443 in 2011, according to police statistics.
STOP-AND-FRISK TARGETED MINORITIES REGARDLESS OF NEIGHBORHOOD
In Greenwich Village and Soho, for example, black and Latino residents make up just 8 percent of the population — but more than 76.6 percent of those stopped by the NYPD in 2011 were minorities, according to numbers from the New York Civil Liberties Union.
HERE ARE THE NEIGHBORHOODS THAT SAW THE MOST STOPS
Police stopped and frisked more people in East Harlem than in any other Manhattan neighborhood in 2011. Midtown was also high on the list.
A FEDERAL JUDGE RULED THAT STOP-AND-FRISK VIOLATES RIGHTS
Manhattan Federal Court Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that between between January of 2004 and June of 2012 NYPD officers stopped more than 4 million people — mostly black and Hispanic men — patting them down and rummaging through pockets of more than half of them, often for no reason.
"The City adopted a policy of indirect racial profiling by targeting racially defined groups for stops based on local crime suspect data," Scheindlin wrote in her 198-page ruling.
THE BLOOMBERG ADMINISTRATION APPEALED THE RULING. WHEN DE BLASIO TOOK OVER, HE DROPPED IT.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, standing alongside Police Commissioner William Bratton and civil rights leaders, said barely one month into his administration that the city would drop its appeal of Scheindlin's stop-and-frisk ruling. The city and civil rights lawyers also agreed that a federal monitor would oversee NYPD reforms for three years.
► READ MORE: City to Drop Stop-and-Frisk Appeal, Mayor Says
THE NYPD CHANGED ITS TACTICS
After Scheindlin's decision, de Blasio and Bratton pushed to change how the police conducted stop-and-frisks. Officers were prohibited from conducting stops solely based on “furtive movements or mere presence in a high crime area,” according to the new rules. Instead, they had to have "reasonable suspicion that the person stopped has committed, is committing or is about to commit a felony" before conducting a frisk.
► READ MORE: Stop-and-Frisk Rules Change Under New NYPD Edict
AND AFTER MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO TOOK OVER, CRIME CONTINUED TO DROP DESPITE A DECREASE IN STOP-AND-FRISKS
In the first months after de Blasio was sworn in in 2014, stop-and-frisks were down 86 percent, while serious crime statistics also dropped.
In 2015, fewer than 23,000 people were stopped and frisked, according to data from the NYPD.
De Blasio and Bratton, have strongly defended the tactic, saying that it is effective as long as it is used in a way that does not violate the constitutional rights of those being searched.
"Stop and frisk was applied with such a broad brush as to be unconstitutional," de Blasio said in June 2015. "That’s what federal court found. We came up with a better approach under the leadership of Commissioner Bratton. We stop people who have done something wrong, and you see that in the statistics."
DE BLASIO TOUTS 'NEIGHBORHOOD POLICING' AS KEY TO KEEPING CRIME LOW
In 2015, de Blasio began experimenting with a new policing strategy, called "Neighborhood Policing."
"You’re going to know the officers on your beat. You’re going to see them. They’re not going to be in their squad cars. They’re going to be on the street, walking around, talking to you. And you’re going to see the responsiveness that that causes," the mayor said.
Still, police reform advocates worry that despite the reductions in stop-and-frisk and a new approach to policing, the aggressive police tactics remain and tell a story of discrimination.
Of the 22,939 people stopped and frisked in 2015, 80 percent were found to have done nothing against the law.
Blacks and Latinos still make up the greatest percentage of those stopped and frisked, with 54 percent of stop and frisks being conducted on blacks and 29 percent on Latinos versus 11 percent of whites.
THE 'RIGHT TO KNOW' ACT
Advocates have called on the City Council to pass the Right to Know Act, which would require police to tell people they can refuse a search where there is no probable cause or a warrant. The legislation would have also required officers to identify themselves and explain why the individual is being stopped or questioned.
In spite of overwhelming support for the law in the City Council, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito negotiated with Bratton to have some of the Right to Know Act requirements added to the NYPD's patrol guide. Opponents of that plan say that a new administration would be able to change patrol guide rules and many directives in the guide are already ignored or not enforced.
Some sponsors of the legislation have vowed to bring the Right to Know Act for a vote before the end of the term in 2017.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: