The New York City Police Department is defending a record number of stop-and-frisks by its officers in 2011.
According to the Wall Street Journal, nearly 700,000 New Yorkers were stopped and questioned by officers — a 14 percent jump from 2010 and the highest number since 2002, when the department started producing yearly talliesat the request of City Hall.
However, according to NY1, only 6 percent of stops ended with a summons, while 6 percent also resulted in arrest.
The NYPD maintains the tactic has led to the dramatic drop in crime over the last decade, taking more than 8,000 weapons off the street last year alone.
But critics of the policy, who gathered outside City Hall to protest the tactic Tuesday, say it raised serious concerns about racial profiling and privacy rights.
And of those stopped, 92 percent were men and 87 percent were either black or Hispanic; 9 percent were white.
"New Yorkers can no longer give the commissioner a free pass on stop and frisk activity that's through the roof that undermines the quality of life and the well-being of hundreds of thousands of innocent New Yorkers and puts young men of color in particular at risk," NY1 quoted New York Civil Liberties Union President Donna Lieberman as saying.
"How dare anyone tell us that these policies are good for our neighborhoods when we are telling you that they are not. We are here for the mothers, the grandmothers, the children, the aunts and uncles...every single day that they feel invaded by a police department," said Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams.
The Civil Liberties union said that more than 4 million people had been stopped since the program began in 2004.
The Huffington Post points out that although the NYDP is enjoying high approval ratings, the program hasproved a legal liability:
"This summer a federal judge gave the green light to a lawsuit against the NYPD, accusing cops of discriminating against blacks and Hispanics."
And according to The Village Voice: "In the month of January alone, more than three dozen lawsuits alleging improper stop-and-frisks were filed, based on a Voice reading of the complaints. Extrapolated, that means that the city could be sued more than 400 times this year alone just on improper stops."