By Rebecca Henely
An NYPD report released Monday revealed that the controversial stop-and-frisk tactic was used on Hispanics in the 115th Precinct in the Jackson Heights area and blacks in the 103rd Precinct in Jamaica at rates that outpaced their demographics in 2011.
The New York Civil Liberties Union had spotlighted both precincts in a report released last year about 2011. The 115th Precinct — which includes East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and the north half of Corona — had the third-highest rate of stop-and-frisks in the city. The 103rd Precinct, which includes Jamaica and Hollis, was ranked eighth-highest.
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) said if the numbers in the new report reflect the current use of stop-and-frisk, they would be troubling, although he had assurances and was told the situation had improved in the 115th Precinct since the NYCLU’s report came out.
“I really don’t believe that racism is involved,” he said. “We can’t sort of paint all police officers with one brush.”
The report said 18,156 people were stopped and frisked in the 115th Precinct in 2011. Of these, about 84 percent were Hispanic, even though they make up about 65 percent of the population. The number of black people stopped in the 115th also outpaced the demographics, making up about 9 percent of stops in a district about 6 percent black.
White people, who comprise about 12 percent of the population, and Asian/Pacific Islanders, who account for about 16 percent of the population, each made up about 4 percent of those stopped in the precinct.
In the 103rd Precinct, 17,152 people were stopped in 2011. Black individuals made up about 74 percent of the stops but constitute only about 48 percent of the population. Hispanic, white and Asian/Pacific Islander individuals were all stopped at a rate lower than their population in the precinct.
The NYPD report, however, said about 74 percent of known crime suspects and 79 percent of known violent crime suspects in the 115th Precinct are Hispanic. In the 103rd, about 70 percent of known crime suspects and about 74 percent of known violent crime suspects are black.
Peralta said he was in support of stop-and-frisk as a tool, but after the NYCLU released its report last year, he wrote a long letter to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and had a long discussion with him about his concerns. One of the most pressing issues was the NYCLU ranking the precinct third in the number of times force was used during a stop-and-frisk. Of all stop-and-frisks in the 115th Precinct, force was used 41 percent of the time, the NYCLU said.
The senator said Kelly was retraining officers working in the 115th Precinct and other impact zones, or places marked as high-crime areas. He had also heard that stop-and-frisk incidents had gone down 50 percent in the 115th Precinct in the last year.
“I hope they have because if they haven’t, that would be a very serious concern,” Peralta said.
Reach Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.