NY state prosecutor, NYPD at odds over city's stop-and-frisk arrests

Nov. 15, 2013 at 1:46 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Nearly half of the New York City Police Department's stop-and-frisk arrests were dismissed, an analysis by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman indicated.

The report, released Thursday, said the overwhelming majority of convictions obtained from stop-and-frisk arrests were for minor, non-violent offenses, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The report's findings were disputed by the police department, whose spokesman said the conviction rate for people arrested after they were stopped and frisked mirrored conviction rates for people arrested for other reasons.

Schneiderman said the project, started 18 months ago, was the first time results of stop-and-frisk arrests were studied. His office analyzed about 150,000 arrests resulting from 2.4 million stops made from 2009 to 2012 to "assess what happens following those arrests," the report said.

The analysis indicated the arrests -- overwhelmingly involving black and Hispanic men -- resulted in a 51 percent conviction rate for offenses that could result in a prison sentence or fines.

Forty percent of the convictions were for offenses such as disorderly conduct and graffiti and a third more were convictions for drugs, trespassing and property crimes, the report said. Two percent of the convictions stemmed from weapons charges, and another 2 percent arose from violent crimes, the report said.

The report said 49 percent of those convicted were sentenced to time served while less than one in 17 arrests resulted in a jail sentence of at least 30 days.

NYPD spokesman John McCarthy said in an email to the Journal the attorney general's report was "clearly flawed."

"The report makes claims with respect to the disposition of stops that result in arrest, but then acknowledges failing to analyze or compare the outcomes of SQF [stop, question and frisk] arrests to the outcomes of non-SQF cases," McCarthy said.

McCarthy said conviction rates for stop-and-frisk and non-stop-and-frisk arrests were "nearly identical," at 51 percent and 52 percent.

He also told the Journal the incarceration rate and the rate of cases not prosecuted within the two types of arrests also were essentially the same.

In another report issued Thursday, the New York Civil Liberties Union made recommendations about policing changes, including stop-and-frisk, it said Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio should make.

The recommendations include strengthening NYPD oversight by fully funding the police department's new inspector general position and the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the Journal said.

Donna Lieberman, executive director of the civil liberties group, called for changes to stop-and-frisk "training, supervision and accountability systems," as well as a re-examination of policing emphasizing enforcement of low-level offenses to prevent more serious crimes.

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