New York City police officers made more than 170,000 stops of people on the streets in the first three months of 2009, the most for any quarter in the eight years since the department began reporting the data. The figures are part of the Police Department's quarterly report, “Stop, Question and Frisk Activity.” The department must divulge the numbers to the City Council under a law enacted in 2001 after the fatal police shooting of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African immigrant, in 1999.
The report, released to the City Council on May 1 and made public by the New York Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday, says the stops made from January through March of this year was an 18 percent increase over the previous record for a quarter. The ACLU also charged that the report shows that a disproportionate number of blacks and Latinos were among those stopped. The Police Department has defended the program, saying the practice of stopping, and sometimes frisking, people in high-crime neighborhoods has been effective.