NEW YORK CITY — NYPD officers failed to justify and document hundreds of stop-and-frisk searches they conduct, which were then rubber stamped by supervisors, according to a federal monitor's report.
“It is apparent…that many police officers, including supervisors, are not well informed as yet about the changes underway or the reasons for them and, therefore, have yet to internalize them. Many appear not to understand what is expected of them,” court-ordered monitor Peter Zimroth wrote in the report filed to a Manhattan Federal Judge Monday.
The review of a 90-day pilot program to document stops found that commanding supervisors routinely signed off on stop-and-frisk reports that were insufficiently filled out by officers, in which they neglected to properly articulate reasonable suspicion for a stop or basis for a subsequent search.
Of the 600 stops recorded beginning in July 2015, police officers did not provide required tear-off receipts to persons who were stopped but not arrested in a “significant number of stops.”
These receipts, which were introduced in July 2015, serve to memorialize police interactions with civilians, and mitigate the “exacerbated tensions between the NYPD and some communities the Department serves, particularly minority and immigrant communities.”
The officer’s name, command and badge number, a link to the NYPD website and the Civilian Complaint Review Board and Internal Affairs Bureau’s phone numbers are included on the receipt.
Stop-and-frisk searches have declined 96.5% from 685,724 in 2011 — a record high, set under former Mayor Bloomberg — to 24,000 in 2015.
“The focus should not be on the number of stops per se, but rather on the lawfulness of the stops and whether the encounters are conducted in accordance with the Department’s principles of ‘courtesy, professionalism and respect,’” Zimroth said.