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Monday, June 16, 2008

Cops use force - from restraint to drawn guns - in 20% of stops, data show

Amd_policearrest One in five New Yorkers stopped by police in 2006 encountered some use of force, from simple restraint to facing a drawn service weapon, a Daily News analysis of new data found. In 102,000 of the more than 500,000 police stops - about 20% - cops did things such as restrained people, threw them to the ground or against a wall or pointed a gun at them, the newly released data show.

The NYPD has refused to release use-of-force data in previous and subsequent years.

In nine out of 10 police stops involving use of force in 2006, the suspects were not arrested.

"Force is liberally defined to include such things as placing the individual on a wall for a pat down, or on a car, or on the ground or handcuffing whether an arrest is made [or] not," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.

The data make clear that cops appear to pull their weapons fairly frequently without making arrests, The News found.

About 2,700 police stops wound up with an officer pulling his weapon on a suspect, records show. Of those stops, only 553 ended with an arrest. That means in four out of five stops where a weapon was drawn, no arrest was made.

Until now, the NYPD has released only limited information on why, where and how its officers stop and question citizens suspected of unlawful activity. Use-of-force details have never been made public.

They surfaced in internal data the NYPD turned over to researchers at the University of Michigan. In recent days, researchers posted much of the information on the Web. [Mark Godsey]

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