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New York Police Will Now Hand Out Stop-And-Frisk "Receipts"

The NYPD is now handing out informational slips to people subjected to stop-and-frisk that include the officer's name and the number for the agency that investigates police misconduct.

Posted on September 28, 2015, at 6:27 p.m. ET

Kena Betancur / Getty Images

New York police officers must now hand out informational slips to the people they stop and frisk, a department spokesperson confirmed to BuzzFeed News on Monday.

The slips, which list the officer's name and the reason for the stop, are only given to suspects who are not ultimately arrested. The small paper cards also include the phone number for the Civilian Complaint and Review Board, the independent agency that investigates police misconduct.

The new policy comes in the wake of a 2013 decision by U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin, who found that the New York Police Department engaged in systemic and unconstitutional pattern of racial profiling when implementing the tactic.

Of the nearly 4.5 million stops that NYPD officers performed between 2004 and 2012, 83% targeted blacks or Latinos, even though those demographics only account for about 50% of the city's population. Nearly 90% of those stopped were never arrested or issued a summons for a violation.

The number of stops has fallen dramatically since the ruling, from nearly 700,000 in 2011 to just 13,600 in the first half of 2015, according to data from the New York Civil Liberties Union.

"These guidelines were established in accordance with federal court recommendations," police Lt. John Grimpel told BuzzFeed News.

Police reform advocates welcomed the new policy. Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, told BuzzFeed News that "the stop-and-frisk receipts should result in greater accountability, which is a good thing."

However, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, the NYPD's largest union, strongly opposes the slips. In a statement released in August, when the policy was still under discussion, PBA President Patrick Lynch said the slips were "clearly designed to invite retaliatory complaints against police officers who make an active effort to prevent crime and take guns off the street."

Some former officers expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of the new policy, arguing that the real intention behind the slips is to reintroduce the practice of stop-and-frisk while appeasing police reform advocates.

"The purpose of these slips is to reintroduce the form and the concept after the Scheindlin ruling so that cops start doing it again. And at the same time, trying to assuage the community," said a five-year veteran of the department who asked not to be named to avoid jeopardizing his current job.

He added: "This is the city saying, 'Hey, so we need to stop murders and we know that people carrying guns commit murders, so please stop them. But at the same time, this is a kindler, gentler stop and frisk, so it's totally not the same thing, citizens.'"


Shira Scheindlin is a judge at the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. A previous version of this article erroneously referred to her as a Circuit Court judge.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.