NYPD officers stopped a record 684,330 people last year for questioning. The tactic, in which around half of those questioned are frisked, is credited by proponents for keeping the streets safer. Opponents, on the other hand, have a rather healthy argument that stop-and-frisk practices are heavily biased. Of those 684,330 people, 92 percent were male. 87 percent of the total were either black or Hispanic.
But despite all those stops, recorded accounts of an actual stop-and-frisk are extremely rare, which makes the recording above, published by The Nation so important. Here’s how The Nation describes the audio:
In the course of the two-minute recording, the officers give no legally valid reason for the stop, use racially charged language and threaten Alvin with violence. Early in the stop, one of the officers asks, “You want me to smack you?” When Alvin asks why he is being threatened with arrest, the other officer responds, “For being a fucking mutt.” Later in the stop, while holding Alvin’s arm behind his back, the first officer says, “Dude, I’m gonna break your fuckin’ arm, then I’m gonna punch you in the fuckin’ face.”
According to a New York Times study, the use of force in stops happens more than a third of the time in some pockets of the city. Unlike what its proponents like to believe, stop-and-frisk isn’t simply a police officer politely interrupting someone from their day to ask a question or two. As the data, and this audio, show, it’s a policy that overwhelmingly targets minority men, and often results in the use of force.