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Donald Trump Touted the Merits of Stop-and-Frisk. Here Are the Facts

By  Michael P. Ventura Murray Weiss and Jeff Mays | September 27, 2016 11:12am | Updated on November 3, 2016 4:59pm

NEW YORK CITY — Donald Trump touted stop-and-frisk as an essential crime fighting tool during the first presidential debate against Hillary Clinton 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.

But as DNAinfo New York reported in its groundbreaking investigative reporting on stop-and-frisk over the years, even those within the rank-and-file of the NYPD were opposed to heavy-handed use of stop-and-frisk because it did not effectively fight crime.

Here's what our reporting 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.

READ MORE: Stop-and-Frisks Have Done Little to Reduce Shootings, NYPD Data Show

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.

READ MORE: Stop-and-Frisks Fail to Pull More Guns Off the Street, NYPD Stats Show

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.

READ MORE: Stop-and-Frisks Target Minorities Regardless of Neighborhood, NYCLU Says

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. 

READ MORE: East Harlem and Midtown Among Manhattan's Top 5 NYPD Stop-and-Frisk Spots

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.

READ MORE: NYPD Stop-and-Frisk Tactic Violates Rights, Federal Judge Rules

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.

READ MORE: Serious Crime Dips in NYC Amid Decline in 'Stop-and-Frisk,' Sources Say

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.

READ MORE: As Mayor Touts 'Neighborhood Policing,' Questions Remain About What It Is

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.

READ MORE: NYPD Would Have to Tell of Right to Refuse Searches Under New Bill