The NYPD Stopped Enough Black Men Last Year to Populate Wyoming

New York City's "stop and frisk" program harassed more innocent black and Latino men than ever last year.

According to new statistics from the New York Police Department, 2010 found more people than ever subjected to the force's controversial "stop and frisk" measure, which has cops randomly stop citizens for questioning and to search them for contraband.

Even just at face value, stop and frisk is a civil liberties nightmare. But what makes it even worse is how vastly disproportionate the police's "random" searches are. Despite being less than 44 percent of the total population of New York City, black and Latino males composed 85 percent of the pool chosen for stop-and-frisk searches last year. With officers stopping 601,055 people, that means a full 511,000 of those people were men of color (for reference, the population of the entire state of Wyoming is 544,000).

It might not be so shocking if all the brown people the police were shaking down were guilty of a crime, but the fact is that the vast majority of them are completely innocent citizens. In only seven percent of 2010's stop-and-frisks was the stopped person arrested; another seven percent was stopped but only issued a summons. That means that in 86 percent of the stop-and-frisk incidents from last year, the "stop and frisk" actually amounted to little more than a cop hassling a New Yorker who was just going about their day.

photo (cc) via Flickr user Dave Hosford