We Harm People Everyday | A PROP Court Monitoring Report

PROP releases its latest court monitoring report, covering Spring 2016, titled “We Harm People Everyday”.

Download the full report here (PDF format, right click save as or click to view in browser).

View all PROP reports here.

Read coverage from Gothamist on the We Harm People Everyday report.

In preparing “We Harm People Everyday”, PROP representatives observed and recorded proceedings in 423 cases held in the arraignment parts of the criminal courts in NYC’s four major boroughs. By identifying the most prevalent types of arrests coming through the criminal justice system and the individuals charged for those infractions, PROP effectively assessed the NYPD’s everyday practices and has concluded that the NYPD continues to engage in an aggressive application of a type of “broken windows” policing that does serious harm to selected communities in our city.

Here is a summary our court monitoring project’s most recent findings, as reported in “We Harm People Everyday”:

  • From March 18th, 2016 through June 21st, 2016, PROP recorded information on 423 cases presented in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens arraignments parts.
  • Of the 423 cases seen, 378, or 89.4%, of defendants were people of color.
  • Of the 423 outcomes recorded, 389, or 92%, of defendants walked out of the courtroom.
  • Of the 225 cases that PROP was able to time, the average amount of time that the court spent on each case was approximately 1 minute, 35 seconds. The shortest case lasted 13 seconds.

Here is a summary of the findings of PROP’s five court monitoring reports:

  • From June 3, 2014 through June 21, 2016 PROP recorded information on 2,303 cases presented in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens criminal courts.
  • Of the total 2,303 cases seen, 2,080, or 90.3%, involved New Yorkers of color.

As stated in “We Harm People Everyday”’s introduction: “On a regular basis, New York’s district attorneys aggressively prosecute cases against black and brown people for engaging in mainly innocent or innocuous activities.On a regular basis, our city’s courts devote their considerable resources to the administration of injustice, applying sanctions in hundreds, if not thousands, of cases where the charges involve, at worst, petty infractions and where the defendants are almost always people of color, some of whom live on the margins of society.”

“We call the report ‘We Harm People Everyday’ because of my conversation with an assistant DA who reached out to PROP to share his/her concerns — anonymously — about the injustices that she/he sees & encounters inside the system,” said PROP director Robert Gangi. As recounted in the report’s prologue, among other things, he/she told us that:

  • ‘Cops lie all the time’ to substatiate the charges that they bring against defendants.
  • The NYPD conducts undercover marijuana buy & bust operations only in neighborhoods of color.
  • ‘We harm people everyday. Everyday’.”
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