Study: 94% of New Yorkers Targeted by “Broken Windows” Policing Are People of Color

A study found 94% of New Yorkers arrested under the New York Police Department’s “broken windows” policy are people color.

Newsweek published a summary of a study by the organization the Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP), “detailing nearly 120 accounts of alleged NYPD disrespect and abuse.”

PROP documented misdemeanor arraignment proceedings in the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx for a year, from June 2014 to June 2015.

The investigation found (emphasis mine)

out of the 850 total cases seen, 797, or about 94%, of the defendants were people of color. 756 people, or 89%, of the persons arrested or ticketed were able to walk out of the courtroom.

The report reveals the NYPD often arrests people of color for “false or trumped-up” crimes. It listed the following examples of racist policing:

  • Police arrest people of color for “manspreading,” when men sit on the subway with their legs spread, taking up more than a seat’s worth of space.
  • Bronx moms were arrested “for standing outside their kids’ school before dismissal.”
  • “An African-American man was walking home with a bag of dog food in Brooklyn when three plainclothes officers grabbed him, accused him of swallowing drugs, and tackled him. … After a strip search in the precinct and a series of forced and invasive medical tests over two days at Interfaith Hospital, no contraband was found. The hospital billed him $9,500 for its services.”
  • Two young women were ticketed for walking through a park at night. They told the cops that it was safer to walk through the park. The police replied “Sorry… we have to meet our quotas.”

A Latino man told PROP in the report “I’m half Puerto Rican, and that’s how they get you. Bike on the sidewalk, open alcohol container, things like that. … I am scared of the police if I see one on the street. I’d rather spend a night with the Hell’s Angels on the Lower East Side than go into a police precinct to report anything.”

PROP president Robert Gangi told Newsweek that the NYPD policies are “kafkaesque.”

Newsweek furthermore notes that, according to the city’s own records, 86% of New Yorkers arrested for misdemeanors in 2014 were people of color.

In 2013, 87% of people arrested for misdemeanors in New York City were people of color.

Yet, according to the US Census Bureau, as of 2010, almost one-half (44%) of New Yorkers are white.