“Everything is different about policing in communities of color, and it always has been,” said Delores Jones-Brown, a visiting professor of criminal justice at Howard University. “Black people, especially young people, don’t get to enjoy public space in same way whites do.”
The police say 911 calls determine enforcement.
Police officials did not respond to requests for comment on the report, but the Police Department has long insisted that it deploys its officers in response to requests for help: Police activity, senior officials have said, is principally driven by 911 and 311 calls, not racial bias.
“It’s the nature of police assignments that you put the bulk of your cops on the dots — the hot spots, if you will,” Mr. Bratton, the former commissioner, said in an interview. “Those hot spots are based on call workloads and complaints, and there are a much larger proportion of them in poor minority neighborhoods.”
Mr. Bratton added that while more people might be getting stopped or arrested in Black neighborhoods than in white ones, more victims of crime in those places were also being helped by the police. “It’s Policing 101,” he said. “You put cops where things are happening that you’re trying to prevent.”
Ms. Jones-Brown, however, said the greater attention Black neighborhoods received from the police could not solely be attributed to more crimes being committed in those places. The federal judge who ruled in the stop-and-frisk case, she noted, found that the majority of the pedestrian stops in those neighborhoods never turned up evidence of a crime.
“Even with the drop in enforcement, some officers are still being cued into Black males as targets,” she said. “Black kids in particular are often treated as a target group, not as individuals.”
Preeti Chauhan, the data center’s director, said that to better understand the racial disparities, researchers would need more data about how the Police Department deploys its officers and how many stops and arrests are “discretionary” as opposed to responses to calls for service. But the study her group released did not include that analysis.