Since Mayor Eric Adams assumed office last year, the New York Police Department (NYPD) has conducted over a million traffic stops, with a concerning disproportion in the treatment of Black and Latino drivers, as per a recent report by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU).
Of the drivers stopped, 62% received summonses, while 2% faced arrests. The report disclosed that nearly 90% of those arrested were Black or Latino. Despite Mayor Adams' pledge to instigate equity reforms within the NYPD, this unsettling pattern emerges. Shockingly, Black New Yorkers, accounting for just 22% of the city's drivers, constituted 32% of the traffic stops, while White New Yorkers, making up 40% of drivers, represented only 25% of the stops.
Furthermore, the data illustrated that drivers in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods, such as Fordham, Highbridge, and Morrisania in the Bronx, faced a higher likelihood of searches and arrests. This occurs even though a majority of officers patrolling these neighborhoods are themselves Black, Latino, or Asian.
The sheer number of traffic stops since January 2022, totaling 1,044,846, surpasses the population of Staten Island. In response, the NYPD emphasized its commitment to combat car theft and dangerous driving, given the alarming statistics of traffic fatalities and collisions with injuries. Vehicle thefts have surged by 19% this year, leading to a 49% increase in arrests related to vehicle thefts.
Statistics reveal stark racial disparities in interactions with the police, irrespective of the officer's ethnicity, as explained by Ify Chikezie, a staff attorney at NYCLU. Police motives for such stops have been described as arbitrary, according to Chikezie, who believes that police officers have a significant degree of discretion in this regard.