The New York Police Department has reversed course and agreed to release the raw data that comprise its stop and frisk reports, but it won’t reveal when and where the stops happened, reports Newday. That refusal will likely add fuel to an ongoing controversy. The New York Civil Liberties Union says holding back that data makes it difficult to assess how minorities and whites are stopped, particularly in neighborhoods where the demographics change dramatically after working hours.
The database of officers’ recordings of the stops–508,540 in 2006–will be released by next week, authorities said, but won’t include locations and times of stops. The city contends in court papers that such information would allow criminals to pinpoint where stops occur and endanger cops’ lives. The controversy over stop and frisks has been raging since early 2007, when numbers released for 2006 showed that more than five times as many people had been stopped and questioned as in 2002, when Police Commissioner Ray Kelly took over. Critics have said the increase unfairly targets minorities, and that they are often stopped for no legitimate reason.