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on February 25, 2014 at 12:01 AM, updated February 25, 2014 at 6:55 AM
NEWARK —Despite comprising just more than half of Newark’s population, African Americans make up 75 percent of the stops under the city Police Department’s stop-and frisk-program, a report released today by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey has found.
The report, which examines six months of police department data, is the first look at the city’s stop-and-frisk program — a controversial policing tactic used to interrogate and search people suspected of criminal activity. The data is published regularly on the department’s website under a policy instituted by recently retired Police Director Samuel DeMaio.
"Several disturbing patterns have emerged that raise constitutional red flags about the Newark Police Department’s stop-and-frisk practices," Udi Ofer, executive director of the ACLU of New Jersey and co-author of the report, said in a statement. "Specifically, our report raises concerns about the high volume of stops, racial disparities in who is getting stopped and the fact that the vast majority of stops appear to be of innocent people."
The report, which studied data from July to December 2013, found that 25 percent of those stopped in Newark were arrested or issued a summons, meaning 75 percent were deemed not to have done anything wrong.
Most of those stopped — 75 percent — were African American, who make up 52 percent of the city’s population, the report said. Of the rest, 23 percent were listed as white or Hispanic and 2 percent were listed as "other." One of the recommendations contained in the report was that police provide more details surrounding the ethnicity of those stopped.
"Stop-and-frisk has become an all-too-common tactic relied on by police departments,
particularly while patrolling low-income communities of color," the ACLU said in its 19-page report. "It has been used with great frequency against innocent people, inflicting humiliation on community residents and greatly damaging police-community relations."
Despite multiple attempts, Newark police did not provide comment on the report. Mayor Luis Quintana, through a spokeswoman, also declined comment.
According to the report, police stopped 2,471 people in both August and September, the most during the six-month period studied. The number of stops hovered around 1,800 per month for the rest of the period, the report said.
The ACLU, which sparked a federal investigation into the Newark Police Department with a landmark 2010 report on police misconduct, applauded the department’s publication of the data but made several recommendations for the future.
Ofer and co-author Ari Rosmarin, the state ACLU’s public policy director, urged police to review the policy, specifically where it concerns racial disparities and innocence rates.
They also asked for more details about officer interactions with residents by separating out summonses from arrests, providing details of arrests and summonses, and giving reasons on why the stop was made, among other recommendations.
Read the full report here: ACLU Stop and Frisk Report.pdf
In : #EssexCounty
Tags: aclu: newark stop-and-frisk targets black residents more than others
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