Crashing the System with Stop and Frisk

S+F Crash the System

If every New Yorker went to court separately, claiming NYPD harassment, when not arrested or cited.

The Floyd v. New York class action suit, to hold the city accountable for hundreds of thousands of baseless harassments by the NYPD, is the affordable option for NYC taxpayers and the court system.  If each plaintiff were to bring a harassment lawsuit against the NYPD under civil rights provisions of § 1983, it would crash the system.

Over the past decade, NYC has arraigned roughly 300,000 cases per year.  Felonies have declined as misdemeanors have risen, which is consistent with some rhetoric that NYC is a safer city, yet also with allegations that the NYPD has been fudging statistics to re-classify the crimes.  Nonetheless, if individual cases were to begin flooding the court calendar, the calendar would triple in size overnight.[1]

In 2011, the NYPD self-reported 119,163 “uses of force” where there was neither arrest nor summons issued; furthermore, they frisked 324,700 people and issued no form of citation.[2]  Some young females have complained that their frisks amount to groping.[3]  Whether minor or severe, these cases alone exceed the number of misdemeanors in the courts.

According to expert Jeffrey Fagan’s review of NYPD data, in 2011:

  • 150,000 stops lack justification (6.71%)
  • 544,252 lack sufficient documentation (24%)
  • 94.67% of stops result in no arrest
  • 93.74% result in no summons

The 2009 Court Budget: $116,147,109

  • Court Revenue: $36,376,655
  • Avg. Summons $/per summons: $14.63
  • Fine Revenue  $15,516,708
  • Bail Revenue $ 10,357,294

A simple comparison of NYC court data[i] shows that an organized public outcry could overwhelm the system, and require changes such as:

  • Triple the court budget (and possible capital investment);
  •  Overhaul of police practices;
  • Full legalization and regulation of marijuana;
  • Other ways to reduce the reasons to bring people into court.

In one month the typical  NYC criminal court judge handles one trial and one pre-trial hearing.  Every day, they average 28 Arraignments (21 Misdemeanors, 5 Felonies).

If Stop and Frisk “Harassments” and “Assaults” were on the court calendar:[4]

  • One NYC ‘Judge Day’ also includes:
    • 40 Harassment arraignments against the NYPD (S+F, resulting in no summons nor arrest);
    • 5 Assault arraignments against the NYPD (use of force, no summons nor arrest);
    • If 5% of NYPD cases went to trial, there would be approximately 125,000 trials (2005-09);
      • During the same period: NYC Criminal Court handled:
        • 2308 Criminal Trials and
        • 6390 Summons Trials.

This is the first part of a series regarding the landmark Floyd trial and NYPD practices.

Read Part Two: “What They Don’t Tell You About NYC Crime Data.”

See also: Revolt of the Gatekeepers

FICPM Statement on Stop and Frisk


[1]  (see NYC Courts Annual report 2011)

1999-2000 between 350,00 – 400,000: Peak- 2000: 277,280  Misdemeanors; 67,827 Felonies.

2001-2005 steady reduction 325,000 – 300,000: Nadir- 2004: 226,769 Misdemeanors; 55,187 Felonies.

2006 – 2009 steady climb back to 2000 high: Peak- 2009 276,112 Misdemeanors; 54,970 Felonies.

Note: Felonies peaked in 2007 at 61,396

[2] Fagan, NYPD data of UF-250 reports

[3] See also: https://www.freespeech.org/text/are-nyc-police-groping-women-protesters

http://my.firedoglake.com/phoenix/2012/05/05/nypd-using-sexual-assault-as-law-enforcement-tool/

http://gothamist.com/2012/02/29/stop_and_frisk_press_conference.php

[4] The S+F cases would be civil rights cases, not criminal cases, and be placed on the civil calendar.  The criminal court calendar is used for purpose of contrast, as this is the behavior that NYPD are asked to catch.  Whereas prevention is impossible to accurately assess, police are generally asked to catch perpetrators of crimes reported to them.


[i]          

2005-2009 Data Manhattan Brooklyn Bronx Queens Staten I. Total
Trial Convictions (arrest cases) 472 476 298 67 1,312
  • Acquittals
281 379 298 105 996
Pre-Trial Hearings 529 677 2,340 694 4,240
Arraignments 507,064 472,214 369,570 337,316 56,093 1,742,257
  • Felony
79,755 78,685 74,581 49,997 10,346 293,364
  • Misdemeanor
366,729 338,701 293,364 238,576 42,086 1,259,383
Trials (summons cases) 590 1,249 3,053 1,776 25 6,390
Summons 842,582 885,208 653,499 551,123 83,808 3,016,230
  • S+F Summons
175,638
 
  • S+F Arrests
150,667
Potential Harassments/S+F 2,479,356
Potential Assaults/S+F (self reported use of force/no citation) 333,320
Total S+F Stops 609,959 1,020,667 417,899 634,153 123,044 2,805,721
# Calendered Cases (if filed) 1,407,741 1,875,360 1,188,480 253,145 4,724,726
Judge Days (if filed) 20,158 23,103 14,750 3354 61,365

About Bruce Reilly

Anti-Prison activist and artist of many genres.
This entry was posted in Courts, Police, prison economics, Race and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.