Hey, New York City friends: You’re going to want to download NYCLU’s Stop & Frisk app

Stop and Frisk Watch” is a free and innovative smart phone application that empowers New Yorkers to monitor police activity and hold the NYPD accountable for unlawful stop-and-frisk encounters and other police misconduct.

The app is available in English on both Android andiPhone devices and Spanish in the Android version, thanks to a translation by Make the Road New York. Stop and Frisk Watch allows bystanders to fully document stop-and-frisk encounters and alert community members when a street stop is in progress.

It has three primary functions:

  • RECORD: This allows the user to film an incident with audio by simply pushing a trigger on the phone’s frame. Shaking the phone stops the filming. When filming stops, the user immediately receives a brief survey allowing them to provide details about the incident. The video and survey will go to the NYCLU, which will use the information to shed light on the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices and hold the Department accountable for its actions.
  • LISTEN: This function alerts the user when people in their vicinity are being stopped by the police. When other app users in the area trigger Stop and Frisk Watch, the user receives a message reporting where the police stop is happening. This feature is especially useful for community groups who monitor police activity.
  • REPORT: This prompts the survey, allowing users to report a police interaction they saw or experienced, even if they didn’t film it.

The app includes a “Know Your Rights” section that instructs people about their rights when confronted by police and their right to film police activity in public. Stop and Frisk Watch is intended for use by people witnessing a police encounter, not by individuals who are the subject of a police stop.

To uninstall be sure to uncheck “Lock Screen on Trigger” under the app’s “My Settings” tab. You will then be able to uninstall by accessing your phone’s application settings.

The NYCLU developed Stop and Frisk Watch with Jason Van Anden, a Brooklyn-based visual artist and software developer who previously developed the Occupy Wall Street app, “I’m Getting Arrested.”

You can download it for your iPhone or Android here.

By the end of Mayor Bloomberg’s administration, the number of blacks and latinos stopped by the NYPD will exceed the population of black and latino people living in NYC.

The number of stops involving young black men in 2011 (168,124) exceed the city’s population of young black men (158,406). 90% of them were innocent (were not arrested or given a summons) yet accounted for 41.6% of the stops despite making up only 4.7 of NYC.

Since Bloomberg took office, stop and frisks increased 600%. This March the NYPD CONDUCTED THEIR 5 MILLIONTH STOP AND FRISK. The number is truly staggering when you consider that the population of NYC is 8.3 million. In comparison, the population of Los Angeles, America’s second largest city, is only 3.8 million.

Out of those 5,000,000 stop and frisk encounters, 4.4 million or 88% were innocent (were not arrested or given a summons) and 86% were Latino or Black.

In Brownsville, Brooklyn, where over 96% of the residents are black or latino, 93 out of 100 residents were stopped by the NYPD.

Probably the most enraging fact about the stop and frisk method is that it has revealed that WHITES ARE MORE THAN TWICE AS LIKELY TO BE FOUND WITH A WEAPON THAN BLACKS/LATINO’S.

Only 1.9 percent of frisks in 2011 turned up weapons and interestingly, according to the NYCLU, “a weapon was found in only 1.8 percent of blacks and Latinos frisked, as compared to a weapon being found in 3.8 percent of whites frisked.”


The most enraging facts about Bloomberg’s/NYPD’s Stop And Frisk method. 

Source 1/Source 2/Source 3


Check out this video that Celia and I made for the New York Civil Liberties Union - NYCLU: Broadway Stands Up For Freedom Concert. Your favorite Broadway stars chatting about civil liberties, freedom, politics and…Beyonce?


Maggie, Andrew and Celia Keenan-Bolger

Jonathan Groff

Christian Borle

Tonya Pinkins

Nikki M. James

Danny Burstein

Kyle Beltran

Anne L. Nathan

Joshua Henry

Allison Case

Mary Testa

This isn’t anti-police as much as it’s pro-young people… It’s about what to do when kids are put in a position where they feel powerless and uncomfortable.

East Side Community High’s principal, Mark Federman.

As I reported at The Week this morning, Federman invited the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) to train students in how to interact safely with police. The high school requested the hour-long training session in light of the city’s history of profiling young, minority men for disproportionate police scrutiny.

It’s sad that this sort of class is necessary, but good on the school for offering it. Indeed, any high school with a local civil liberties/“know your rights” group willing to provide this type of training should avail themselves of it—at the minimum students will leave better informed about their rights, and in more extreme circumstances it could save lives.

Victory in unlawful mass arrest during 2004 RNC in largest protest settlement in history
January 16, 2014

In a settlement announced yesterday with the New York Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights advocates, New York City has agreed to pay nearly $18 million for the arrest, detention and fingerprinting of hundreds of protesters, journalists, legal observers and bystanders during the 2004 Republican National Convention – the largest protest settlement in history. The NYCLU filed the first cases following the Convention and has been central to the legal challenge to the NYPD’s actions.

“No lawful protester should ever be treated like a criminal in New York City, or anywhere else in the United States,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “This historic settlement must serve as a reminder to New York City and government across the country that the right to protest is a fundamental pillar of a fair and functioning democracy. And it is the role of government and law enforcement to not only tolerate protest, but protect and defend it.”

The 2004 RNC prompted hundreds of thousands of people to participate in lawful demonstrations in New York City. Despite the peaceful nature of the gatherings and the First Amendment’s guarantee of the right to protest, the NYPD engaged in mass arrests, including of more than 1,800 protesters, bystanders, legal observers and journalists. The Department then fingerprinted everyone and held hundreds for more than 24 hours at a filthy, toxic pier that had been a bus depot.

In early October 2004, the NYCLU filed the first two Convention lawsuits. One (Schiller v. City of New York) arose out of the mass arrest of 226 people on a sidewalk on Fulton Street near the World Trade Center and the other (Dinler v. City of New York) out of the mass arrest of nearly 400 people on East 16th Street near Union Square. Both challenged the mass arrest, lengthy detention and blanket fingerprinting of protesters, journalists and bystanders at each location.

Following many years of litigation, the federal District Court in October 2012 ruled that the Fulton Street mass arrest was unconstitutional and rejected the city’s claim that the 16th Street mass arrest was permissible. In that ruling, federal Judge Richard Sullivan urged the city and the plaintiffs in the dozens of remaining Convention cases to settle, leading to today’s settlement. And as condition of settling the two NYCLU cases, the city has agreed to abandon all the appeals it had filed of the October 2012 ruling.

“The mass arrest, blanket fingerprinting and prolonged detention of demonstrators, bystanders and journalists at the Convention is one of the darkest chapters in New York City’s long and proud history of protest,” said NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn, lead counsel in the NYCLU cases. “While no amount of money can undo the damage inflicted by the NYPD’s actions during the Convention, we hope and expect that this enormous settlement will help assure that what happened in 2004 will not happen again.”

Full article

NYCLU and NAACP Organizes Father's Day March in NYC Against Stop-and-Frisk Abuse

The NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices overwhelmingly target young men of color. Indeed, black and Latino young men between the ages of 14 and 24 simply cannot walk in any New York City neighborhood without risking an intimidating and unjustified police encounter.

On Father’s Day, tens of thousands of New Yorkers will hold a silent march in Central Harlem to protest the NYPD’s unconstitutional and racially discriminatory stop-and-frisk practices. Please join us as we stand in opposition to the NYPD’s racial profiling.

The march will begin at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 17 at 110th Street between 5th Ave. and Lenox Ave. at the northern edge of Central Park. We hope to see you there!


400,000 (Mostly Brown) People Stopped And Frisked Last Year in NYC

The stop-and-frisk policy allows the NYPD to conduct random pat-downs of those they deem suspicious.


Stop-and-frisk is whack. That was the essence of a 27-page briefing that the New York Civil Liberties Union released on Wednesday.

The New York Police Department’s controversial tactic allows cops on the street to pat down those they deem suspicious at random, with the aim of reducing crime. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg say that the policy has played an integral role in reducing the city’s crime rate.

Keep reading


A bit long at 13 minutes, but an important expose on the fucked up racial profiling that occurs due to the stop-and-frisk program initiated by Mayor Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, a program that disproportionately  targets blacks and Latinos living in areas like Harlem or Hunts Point.  17 year old Alvin was stopped multiple times in 2011 and was able to record one encounter on his iPod.  He was pushed around, and when he questioned their behavior, the officer told him to shut the fuck up or he’d get slapped.

An officer was told by his captain,We’re going to go out there and violate some rights.”  That’s what this is: a violation of the rights of New Yorkers.

If anyone reading this in NYC has ever been profiled for a stop, or just happens to be a black man or a Latino in the city, the New York Civil Liberties Union offers a free app that you can use to record the incident as evidence of police misconduct.

We’re #3 in Stop-and-Frisks by the Police

From Yasmine:

AJ posted this article about the top 10 places to get s&f by nypd with jh/e elmhurst @ 3rd… 

Gothamist: “Top 10 Places To Get Stopped And Frisked By The NYPD”

1. 75th Precinct, East New York Brooklyn, 31,100

2. 73rd Precinct, Brownsville Brooklyn, 25,167

3. 115th Precinct, East Elmhurst/Jackson Heights Queens, 18,156

4. 40th Precinct, South Bronx, 17,690

5. 90th Precinct, Williamsburg, 17,566

6. 23rd Precinct, East Harlem, 17,498

7. 43rd Precinct, Southeast Bronx, 17,281

8. 103rd Precinct, Jamaica Queens, 17,152

9. 44th Precinct, Bronx, 16,903

10. 120th Precinct, Staten Island, 16,490

Keep reading

Do you own an iPhone? Or Android? Then you can hold the NYPD accountable for violating people’s rights.

Today, the NYCLU released an iPhone version of Stop and Frisk Watch – our smart-phone app that allows bystanders to document stop-and-frisk encounters and alert community members when a street stop is in progress.

You have a First Amendment right to record police activity in public. Doing so empowers you to expose abusive policing and protect your neighbors.

Stop and Frisk Watch, which is free and already available for Android phones, has three primary functions:

RECORD: Users can film a police encounter with audio. When filming stops, the user immediately receives a brief survey allowing them to provide details about the incident. The video and survey are sent to the NYCLU.

LISTEN: This alerts users when someone in their neighborhood is being stopped by the police. It’s especially useful for community groups that monitor police activity.

REPORT: This prompts the survey, allowing users to report a police interaction they saw or experienced, even if they didn’t film it.

NYPD data shows that hundreds of thousands of innocent New Yorkers are stopped and frisked each year. The information collected through Stop and Frisk Watch documents how this humiliating and abusive tactic corrodes trust between police and communities. It helps you fight for change.

Stop and Frisk Watch is also available on Android. Visit for more information.

Thank you for all that you do,

The Staff of the NYCLU

A Mother's Fight Against Stop and Frisk

The Gotham Gazette has a powerful story about the racist and unconstitutional policy of Stop and Frisk, the NYPD policy that permits an officer – without a warrant – to stop, interrogate and frisk anyone the officer thinks is “suspicious.” The paper writes about Mary Black, a mother in Harlem, and her 16 year old son’s experiences with stop-and-frisk:

Double-checking the whereabouts of her youngest child, knowing the parents of his friends—these methods helped her to successfully raise her first two. But these stop-and frisk-incidents added an unexpected chapter to her already dog-eared parenting handbook. They required interactions with the criminal justice system that Black had not anticipated. Her son did not have a record but each stop increased her fear that soon, he would.

The NYCLU released a report on stop-and-frisk that found that:

[M]ore than 4 million innocent New Yorkers were subjected to police stops and street interrogations from 2004 through 2011, and that black and Latino communities continue to be the overwhelming target of these tactics. Nearly nine out of 10 stopped-and-frisked New Yorkers have been completely innocent, according to the NYPD’s own reports:

In 2010, 601,055 New Yorkers were stopped by the police: 517,458 were totally innocent (86 percent); 317,642 were black (53 percent); 190,491 were Latino (32 percent)


“For Being A Fucking Mutt!” Stop And Frisk Policies in New York City

On June 03, 2011, three New York City police officers stopped and questioned, Alvin, a local Harlam teenager. Though he is only one of 180,000 mostly young Black and Latino men who are racially profiled and stopped each day in New York City, Alvin is believed to be the first known person to capture audio of an incident of stop and frisk (he was actually the second - the first known incidence was circulated on Youtube in July, and showed a young man in Sunset Park, Brooklyn being assaulted by a police officer in the Subway station).

Alvin’s audio has become part of a new video released today by The Nation resulting in outrage and renewed efforts to end the practice of Stop and Frisk in New York City.

In the 13:15 minute video, Alvin asks the officers why they are threatening to arrest him to which an officer responds, “For being a fuckin’ mutt! You know that?!” The Sergeant then says, “I will break your fucking arm off right now,” while holding Alvin’s arm tightly behind his back. 

According to Jessie Daniels, PhD at Racism Review, “The audio was recently played at a meeting of The Morris Justice Project, a group of Bronx residents who have organized around the issue of stop-and-frisk and have been compiling data on people’s interactions with police. Jackie Robinson, mother of two boys, expected not to be surprised when told about the contents of the recording. “It’s stuff we’ve all heard before,” she said at the gathering. Yet Robinson visibly shuddered at one of the audio’s most violent passages. She had heard plenty about these encounters, but had never actually listened to one in action.”

The initial sentiments felt by Robinson hold true for myself: here is another horrendous case of the civillian population of color being “hunted,” as one officer in the video exclaims. But whether or not these issues come as a shock to communities of color living in New York City, these instances of racial profiling must be voiced, they must be shared with the world and they must be stopped. Hopefully, this video will have the necessary power to shed light on the NYPD’s policing tactics to control young men of color and put a stop to the injustices that Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly incite through these laws.