National Origin Disparities in the New York City Police Department's Stop-and-Frisk Practices since 9/11
Florio, Katherine E.
In the last two decades, the New York City Police Department's (NYPD) practice of stop-and-frisk has been the subject of intense public debate and litigation for its disproportionate impact on minorities. In 2013, United States District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ruled in Floyd v. City of New York that NYPD's stop-and-frisk policies violated the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures and the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection under the law. Judge Scheindlin's decision relied heavily on evidence of the disparate impact of stop-and-frisk on black and Hispanic pedestrians. Similarly, all academic and policy analysis of potential biases in NYPD's stop-and-frisk practices to date has focused on these two minority groups. This paper expands this body of research by evaluating the effect of stop-and-frisk on individuals from certain national origins. Specifically, my research focuses on nationalities that have been classified as "ancestries of interest" (AOI) by NYPD since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. According to media reports, NYPD has focused its post-9/11 counter-terrorism surveillance programs on neighborhoods in the city with concentrated populations of individuals from twenty-eight AOI. These AOI are comprised of national ancestries from predominately Muslim countries. Using NYPD stop-and-frisk data from 2003 through 2011, I test whether the AOI population in a police precinct is a statistically significant predictor of the annual number of stops in the precinct while controlling for crime rates, other demographic characteristics--including gender, age, race, and the foreign-born population--and socio-economic indicators. I find a positive, statistically significant relationship between the AOI population and the number of annual stops in a police precinct. These results suggest that NYPD's use of stop-and-frisk has disparately impacted AOI individuals and that the city should consider national origin, in addition to race, as it works to reduce the potential for bias in stop-and-frisk practices moving forward.
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