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Former police captain and current New York City Mayor Eric Adams pledged to reform the police during the November 2021 mayoral race, but a new report shows NYPD has surpassed a million traffic stops since Adams took office, with Black and Latinx New Yorker disproportionately arrested.
According to the report from the New York Civil Liberties Union, discriminatory targeting and arrests of Black and Latinx residents have gotten worse under Mayor Adam’s leadership.
NYPD traffic stops ensnared 1,044,846 drivers between January 2022 and June 2023. NYPD gave 62%% of those drivers court summonses and arrested 2% of drivers. Out of those arrested, nearly 90% were Black or Latinx, according to the report, which was published on Thursday.
Moreover, 557 of the traffic stops resulted in use of force, and 91% of drivers subjected to use of force were Black or Latinx.
“The analysis released today exposes the scope and impact of NYPD traffic stops, and the extent to which they disproportionately harm Black and Brown drivers in our city. The troubling findings make crystal clear that traffic stops are the new stop-and-frisk in New York City,” said Ify Chikezie, staff attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union.
NYPD traffic stops show the limits of “Black no matter who”
The findings come after the NYCLU sued NYPD in March, demanding the complete database of traffic stops that had previously been hidden.
Notably, Black residents make up 22% of NYC drivers but 32% of NYPD traffic stops. Meanwhile, white residents make up 40% of drivers but just 25% of traffic stops.
In the heavily Democratic-leaning city, Mayor Adams sailed into the mayor’s office. He beat his Republican opponent Curtis Sliwa by 40 percentage points. The Democratic Primary Election was another story.
Adams faced a strong opponent in the form of progressive professor and civil rights activist Maya Wiley. Yet Adams’ ties to law enforcement made him a favorite among moderate and conservative voters. It’s doubtful he planned to oversee an increase in traffic stops in primarily Black and Latinx neighborhoods, but that has been the result.
Adams led all five primary candidates with 30% of the vote to Wiley’s 21.4% in the first round. Voters in the ranked-choice system, however, ultimately chose Adams with just over 50% to runner-up Kathryn Garcia’s 49.6%.
“We’re going to get it right,” Adams said on the Stephen Colbert shows weeks after winning the mayoral race. He pledged to redefine policing in NYC.
NYPD traffic stops under scrutiny
Since then, however, he’s instead expanded patrol on streets and subways, with sometimes harsh NYPD responses to nonviolent behaviors.
“Data plays a critical role in exposing and challenging abusive and discriminatory policing,” Chikezie said. “We will continue to analyze this data, and hope this helps New Yorkers have an informed discussion on the dangers of police vehicle stops, and possible non-police responses to routine traffic enforcement.”
To view the full report on NYPD traffic stops, click here.