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From the Streets to the Courts to City Hall: A Case Study of a Comprehensive Campaign to Reform Stop-and-Frisk in New York City

Resource type: Case Study

Communities United for Police Reform |

This case study explores how Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) successfully campaigned to end stop-and-frisk abuses in New York City. Stop-and-frisk is a practice of police officers stopping individuals they deem suspicious, questioning them, and frequently frisking them for weapons and other contraband.

Out of 4.4 million stops in the city between 2004 and 2012, only 6 percent resulted in arrests. Reaching its peak with 686,000 stops in 2011, the practice disproportionately targeted communities of color. For instance, also in 2011, the number of stops of young African-American men exceeded the number of them living in New York City that year.

As detailed in the case study, the efforts of CPR and its partners culminated in 2013 with two landmark events:

  1. The Floyd v. City of New York decision declaring the New York Police Department’s practice of stop-and-frisk unconstitutional, and
  2. The passage of New York City’s Community Safety Act, a groundbreaking legislative package aimed at ending discriminatory policing and bringing accountability to the New York Police Department.

The case study provides informative lessons learned and approaches for those working on addressing discriminatory policing practices and police violence in other cities.

Learn More

The Campaign Behind the Reform of Stop-and-Frisk in New York City
This supplemental brief describes the structure and operations of the campaign as well as how it coordinated its broad, diverse membership and the multiple tactics and strategies it used. The brief provides lessons that activists in other cities and communities might find useful in their work to reform discriminatory police practices as well as other policy change efforts.

How Foundations Supported the Campaign to Reform Stop-and-Frisk in New York City
This funder brief focuses on the foundations’ role in CPR–funder collaboration, funding strategy, and grantmaking approach. The experience of The Atlantic Philanthropies and Open Society Foundations provides lessons learned for the philanthropic field on how to support comprehensive multi-strategy campaigns to advance reforms.

The Atlantic Philanthropies and Open Society Foundations jointly commissioned the case study and these briefs. Communities United for Police Reform is an Atlantic grantee via a re-grant through The Advocacy Fund.