From the NYT:
“According to the analysis of the 2009 raw data by the Center for Constitutional Rights, nearly 490,000 blacks and Latinos were stopped by the police on the streets last year, compared with 53,000 whites.
But once stopped, the arrest rates were virtually the same. Whites were arrested in slightly more than 6 percent of the stops, blacks in slightly fewer than 6 percent. About 1.7 percent of whites who were stopped were found to have a weapon, while 1.1 percent of blacks were found with one.
In examining the stated reasons for the stops, as checked off by police officers on department forms, the center found that about 15 percent of the stops last year cited “fits a relevant description.” Officers can check off more than one reason, but in nearly half the stops, the category called “furtive movements” was cited. Nearly 30 percent of stops cited a category called “casing a victim or location”; nearly 19 percent cited a catchall category of “other.””
So much to say.
1) It’s really great that this data exists. Unfortunately, it’s completely outrageous that the use to which it is put is to answer questions about the “effectiveness of crime prevention.” I guess this just goes to show how completely stupid rich liberal academics are. The fact is that NO ONE INVOLVED really thinks the stops are about “preventing crime.” And, even if anyone thought some such a (RIDICULOUS) thing, there are obvious reasons why this “method” is inherently noxious and anathema to a free society. The police DO NOT exist to prevent crime – indeed they perpetrate it at every turn. Their function is to protect a particular racial and economic order and to prevent the urban masses from rising up – thus, they’ve put almost 2 million poor people (mostly men) behind bars. Poverty doesn’t cause crime, it does, however, (especially when coupled with being Black) put you behind bars.
2) The idea that “furtive movements” or “other” constitutes reasonable suspicion is ludicrous. It amounts to saying openly “I stopped and searched this person because I’m a racist.” Seriously, they need that check box. Welcome to “the land of the free” I guess…
3) Of course, the obvious conclusion to draw from the arrest rates is that there is NO reason to believe that the black men they’re searching are actually more likely to have committed a crime than their white counterparts. But: THE ONLY REASON ANYONE WOULD HAVE BELIEVED OTHERWISE IS BECAUSE OF THEIR DEEP RACISM. Besides which, an arrest rate is not something to be proud of and is NO INDICATION of a responsiveness to crime – if it were post people in uniforms and other positions of power would be behind bars.
4) Fuck the NYT for their coverage of this! Several police spokespeople were given a quarter of the article to spin the facts, while not a single affected community member was allowed to talk about their experience. The essence of Corporate Media.