NYPD Stop and Frisk Program and Critical Race Theory

The Hunted and Hate video interviews police officers of the NYPD, who mention how they have no problem violating rights and racial profiling to meet the “250s.” More than 1800 minorities are being stopped a day, and police officers are often putting innocent people into dangerous situations or unwanted situations to meet their quotas. According to the graph, in the last decade, more than 87 percent of people stopped were blacks or Latinos, and roughly 9 out of 10 were innocent of any wrongdoing. What is mind boggling to me is that in the state of New York the law prohibits the use of these “250s” (quotas) for arrests just to get a higher rank, but yet the NYPD are continuing to do so because in order to get to a higher position, it is required that the police officers are maintaining their quotas, therefore under stress they often make them up, and stop innocent people. NYPD is an independent service, which leaves officers no safe place to file complaints about police practice and systemic problems, therefore officers do the 250’s to keep the heat off themselves and to avoid disciplinary action. To justify their actions, the commissioner and mayor say they are trying to be “proactive”, but instead of protecting civilians they are hunting from them therefore being hated.

Critical Race Theory can tie in with The NYPD stop-and-frisk program by taking a look at the legal issues that are creating inequality. Critical Race theory focuses on confronting race and racism in “legal context” that is happening across the US. (Pavlich, 2011) In this video it mentions how in New York there is a law that prohibits the use of these “250s”, but yet these officers out of fear are trying to meet these quotas. It’s actually disturbing to hear these Officers admit that they are using racial profiling in order to meet these quotas just to avoid getting punished.

According to the Commissioner and Mayor they believe these measures that are being taken are showing “effectiveness” in crime rates. I believe Critical Theorists would have a lot of questions in regards to the “effectiveness” of these measures that are being placed. But where do you draw the line? According to the graph that was shown, approximately 50 percent of the individuals who were being stopped and frisked are blacks, and approximately 35% were Hispanic. So why is it that certain racial groups are the only ones being targeted and why are they the ones that are apart of these statistics.

If they don’t meet their quotas, they are not seen as “capable” officers and they are that they are not doing their job right. Where are they going to file a complaint? Unfortunately they have no one to turn to. Critical Theorists such as Marx and Engels focus on alienation, and that alienation was said to be a “product of societies” in which hierarchy is the leading method of social organization. (Pavlich, 2011) Thus said because of the Supervisor being in this “hierarchy” position it is forcing them to take these actions if they want to get to a higher position, so out of fear they have no choice but to follow along. By doing this it is causing inequality within the society. In Pavlich’s text it mentions that in order to change the “legal issues” we need to take a deeper look at this, and that will only help “reconstruct” our views on this issue.I agree with this because I think it is important to look deep into these issues, and find out what went wrong, and why are these unjust measures still being placed today. In this video shown there was a 17 year old male that was being “stopped and frisked” every other block, he had recorded his experience with the police officers, and wanted answers as to why he was being stopped so much, for doing nothing wrong. Critical Theorists would look at this and find out why these inequalities are happening within different races.

This video really makes me frustrated because police officers are supposed to be serving and protecting our community, and are suppose to make us feel safe, but by racial profiling and targeting specific racial groups how they are our “1st line of security.” They force these targeted individuals to commit crime in order to meet their “quotas”, instead of decreasing the crime rates, I believe they are the leading cause of the increase in crime rates, but seem to  find a way to put the blame on these innocent individuals. Because they are police officers, they are not being questioned and having that support from their Supervisors, shows they are not doing anything wrong. I believe there needs to be immediate changes to these issues, because if meeting their quotas are their number one priority it really makes you feel unsafe, because now in the back of my mind, I am always going to wonder if I am ever going to be stopped , just because they are trying to meet their quotas. I think legal action needs to be taken, they should not have these 250s to meet, it puts pressure on the police officers, but also puts the society in fear, because who knows what kind of dangerous positions the officers are going to force us to be placed in, in order to prove they are “capable” police officers.



Pavlich, G. (2011). Law and Society Redefined. Ontario, Canada: Oxford University Press



Filed under Musing

2 responses to “NYPD Stop and Frisk Program and Critical Race Theory

  1. Interesting post! You effectively convey your position on the NYPD policy.

    Critical race theorists would seek to put the NYPD policy in a broader historical context. They would consider the ways in which legal mechanisms – in this case the stop-and-frisk power – reproduce racilized forms of injustice. They would also consider how the policy fits into the larger picture of systemic, structural racism. One might apply critical race theory to explore the ways in which particular laws legitimize dominant – and racialized – narratives about ‘suspicious behavior’.

    Question: How would a proponent of critical race theory go about advocating for a change in the NYPD policy? Pavlich’s (2011) discussion on pp. 131-132 will be of help.

    • bangat

      I believe a supporter of critical race theory would definitely look into the experiences of these individuals and their “experiential knowledge” (Pavlich, 2011) into consideration when looking at other people of colour. I think by listening to these experiences of these individuals would connect these supporters to the situation even more. I can relate to this because, prior to watching this video, yes I was aware of these “quotas” that police officers have to meet, but I didn’t know it was getting to the point where they are forcing these innocent groups of individuals to commit crime in order to be known as a “capable officer.” After watching this 17 year old boy’s video on the stop and frisk program, I got to learn about his experiences and it really put things in perspective for me and truly made me feel connected with this issue, because I believe something needs to be done. I believe the more we see the videos, and gain knowledge on what is actually going on, the more these supporters can advocate for a change in the NYPD policy.
      Also I believe these supporters of critical race theory would consider digging deep into the historical aspect of law and to make the public aware of what is going on. I believe it is important make the public aware of these situations because not everyone knows about these awful injustices that are happening today.