New York City Police officers will now be required to issue “receipts” to every person on the street they stop to question or frisk, the New York Daily News reports.
The “What Is A Stop?” form will be issued to every person who is stopped but not arrested by an NYPD officer.
According to New York Magazine, the form requires police officers to provide their name, badge number, and a reason for the stop. Explanation options include “concealing or possessing a weapon,” “engaging in a drug transaction,” “proximity to the scene of a crime,” “matches a specific suspect description,” “acting as a lookout,” “casing a victim or location,” and “other.”
The introduction of receipts comes as the NYPD faces intense scrutiny for its “stop-and-frisk” tactics, which critics say disproportionately targets minorities.
The changes are “important first steps in reducing illegal and discriminatory stops, while the new receipt will improve accountability and hopefully de-escalate tensions,” Christopher Dunn, associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, told TIME Magazine.
The Daily News notes that two factors that officers were previously able to cite as reasons for a stop — a suspect making a suspicious movement or being in a high-crime area — are no longer viable explanations, per a September 21 NYPD internal memo. In addition, the department has said that people can no longer be targeted “because they are members of a racial or ethnic group that appears more frequently in local crime suspect data.”
Patrick Lynch, head of the largest NYPD union, told the Daily News that the paperwork is “another nail in the coffin of proactive policing.”
“Instead of improving community relations, these receipts will accelerate an increase in crime and disorder, which will damage the city’s economic health while hurting those crime-ridden communities who need our protection the most,” Lynch said.
According to data from the ACLU, street stops have seen a sharp decline over the last four years, from 685,724 stops in 2011 to just 13,604 in the first two quarters of 2015.
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