One in five New Yorkers stopped by police in 2006 encountered some use of force, from simple restraint to facing a drawn service weapon, a New York Daily News analysis of data found. In 102,000 of the more than 500,000 police stops – about 20 percent – cops did things such as restrained people, threw them to the ground or against a wall or pointed a gun at them. In nine out of 10 police stops involving use of force in 2006, the suspects were not arrested. “Force is liberally defined to include such things as placing the individual on a wall for a pat down, or on a car, or on the ground or handcuffing whether an arrest is made [or] not,” said police spokesman Paul Browne.
The data make clear that cops appear to pull their weapons fairly frequently without making arrests. The use-of-force statistics offer a more detailed picture of the increased use of police stops to combat crime. Civil liberties groups concerned about illegal police stops have sued to obtain all the data. “The data confirms our worst fears,” said Donna Lieberman of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “The NYPD is stopping, interrogating and searching hundreds of thousands of innocent New Yorkers.” Terrorism was the reason given for stopping and questioning citizens in 301 cases in 2006. Only one of the “terrorism” stops resulted in an arrest.