Dominion of New York

Social Justice

August 17, 2012

Poll: 25% of NYC Blacks Support NYPD’s Stop-and-Frisk

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Written by: Kelly Virella

A marcher protesting Stop-and-Frisk during June’s Silent March NYC. Photo by Kelly Virella.


f you listen to any talk radio shows in New York, by now you know that stop-and-frisk, the NYPD’s practice of stopping and sometimes searching primarily black and Latino men, has some support in the black community. Thanks to a recent poll by Quinnipiac University, we now have an estimate of how much. Twenty-five percent of African-American voters polled said they liked other black people being detained by police officers, slammed against the wall and groped approved of the practice. Sixty-nine percent said they did not.

Opinions of the practice vary widely by race. Fifty-seven percent of whites approve of it, while 37 percent disapprove. Fifty-three percent of Latinos approve of it, while 45 percent do not.

Clayton Bigsby — who moved to the Bronx after his premiere on Chappelle’s Show — explained his support for stop-and-frisk this way: “Niggers, Jews, homo-sexuals, Mexicans, A-rabs, and all kinds of different Chinks stink and I hate ’em.”

Uncle Ruckus chimed in too. “Somebody! Anybody! Same me from these African hooligans!” (Just jokes, people. Just jokes.)

The timing of this poll is really peculiar, especially given the recent progress of stop-and-frisk opponents. The number of stops-and-frisks in NYC fell 34 percent last quarter. But in 2011, the number of stops of young black men exceeded the entire city population of young black men (168,126 as compared to 158,406), according to a report by the New York Civil Liberties Union. Blacks and Latinos comprised 52.9 percent and 33.7 percent of those stopped respectively. Young black and Latino males age 14 to 24 were the primary NYPD targets, comprising 41.6 percent of the total stopped citywide.

Ninety percent of young black and Latino men stopped were innocent, the report says. And there are other reasons to doubt that stop-and-frisk makes the city safer. First, the number of people caught carrying weapons during stop-and-frisk is minuscule. In 2011, police found weapons on only 1.8 percent of blacks and Latinos frisked, and 3.8 percent of whites. (If anybody should be stopped-and-frisked more, it’s …)

Second, the practice has no impact on the level of gun violence in New York City, according to a recent investigation from

While the NYPD was stopping and frisking a record 685,724 people last year, 1,821 people were victims of gunfire, according to NYPD and city statistics. That’s virtually the same number as in 2002, Bloomberg’s first year in office, when 1,892 people were shot, but just 97,296 people were frisked.

Third, analysis from New York Daily News shows that stop-and-frisk has no impact on NYC’s murder rate either.

The city’s murder rate started dropping long before Kelly’s current tenure as commissioner, and there’s no evidence stop-and-frisk had anything to do with it. There were 2,245 murders in 1990. By 2001, the year before Bloomberg hired Kelly, the number of murders had dropped to 649. That total fell to 587 in 2002, the year before the commissioner initiated his aggressive stop-and-frisk regime.

Still, apparently, those who approve of stop-and-frisk believe that if it decreased, gun crime would increase. The percentage of black, white and Latino voters who believe that is 28 percent, 39 percent, and 46 percent respectively.

Fortunately, it’s not up to stop-and-frisk supporters to decide whether the NYPD’s program is thinly disguised racial profiling. A federal court is contemplating that.


About the Author

Kelly Virella
Kelly Virella lives in an East Harlem walk-up with her husband, her bicycle and her books. She's worked as a journalist for 11 years and started this website during the summer of 2011. She fell in love with New York City during her first visit here as a 16-year-old and finally made good on her promise to move here in April 2010.


NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, Courtesy David Shankbone Wikimedia Commons