New York City police have reportedly replaced their unconstitutional stop-and-frisk practice with another one rooted in racial bias. Predictive policing, focused on law enforcement protocol to identify areas of criminal activity before crimes are committed, has made way for a gang database and surveillance program targeting people of color that have been referred to as “Stop-And-Frisk 2.0.”
“The gang database, I call it the stop and frisk 2.0 because it just evolved,” Vidal Guzman, an organizer with prison reform group JustLeadershipUSA told The Intercept, who released a blistering report about the NYPD Monday (June 11). “If we can’t stop these individuals every moment, we’re just going to create a database where we are able to target the people that we can’t stop, and still see what they are doing without them even knowing.”
The database program has been viewed as an upgrade to Stop-and-Frisk, which was declared unconstitutional in 2013 after it reached a record-high of 684,330 stops in 2011. More than 90 percent of those stopped were either Black and Latino, The Intercept reported.
Activists warn that the database —designed to include the names of those defined as gang members based on the NYPD’s loose definition of the term— is a dangerous tool for discrimination. In other words, the database is filled with the names of people of color treated like criminals by the NYPD though they have not committed any crimes.
The number of people in the database is especially alarming: New Yorkers have been added to the NYPD gang database under NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio at a rate of 342 people per month. This rate is nearly three times the rate of the previous decade, according to The Intercept.
Activists are surely facing a battle against racially biased policing, with police using technology as a weapon. The question is how do opponents of biased policing win the war.