The New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit over the NYPD's controversial stop-and-frisk program, which stops an overwhelming majority of black and Latino suspects, is also taking place in private buildings.
Landlords citywide can sign up for a program called "Operation Clean Halls," which is intended to prevent drug use and sales through indoor patrolling.
In Manhattan, a Clean Halls–associated initiative run by the district attorney's office called the Trespass Affidavit Program, TAP, also targets trespassing in buildings with drug problems.
TAP operates in more than 3,200 buildings, but the NYCLU says that the initiatives are shrouded in secrecy. The NYCLU claims that the D.A. denied a public-records request to identify participating buildings. The advocacy group fired back on January 20 with a lawsuit filed in the New York State Supreme Court.
"We were hearing directly from people that building residents were being subjected to pretty intense police practices—getting stopped in lobbies, stopped at the mailbox, at the garbage chute, in the hallway," says Alexis Karteron, NYCLU senior staff attorney.
State Senator Gustavo Rivera begs to differ. He says it's clear that the police stops are not working and are inappropriate. "We have to stand up and call it what it is: an unconstitutional practice that does not make for safer streets."
In 2010, the NYPD, in a campaign touted by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly as a key element in the war on crime, stopped more than 600,000 people throughout the city. From 2004 to 2009, police stopped 2.8 million people; the largest age group is males 15 to 19, following by males ages 20 to 24. Just 9 percent of the stops resulted in an arrest. And in 2011, the police were on pace for 686,000 stops—a new record.
In the 2010 Voice series "The NYPD Tapes," police supervisors in the 81st Precinct in Bedford-Stuyvesant order cops to make a quota of one or two stops per tour. Police Officer Adil Polanco, who was assigned to a Bronx precinct, said similarly that there was a stop-and-frisk quota there. If those orders are typical for most precincts—and that appears to be the case from the tapes and Polanco's statements—then quotas are a key factor in fueling the rise in stops