Black people in New York City are 25 percent more likely to be shot and more likely to be arrested for shooting a firearm, according to the latest set of statistics released by the city's police department.
The data collected over the first six months of 2013 reports 74 percent of the city's 564 shooting victims and 70 percent of the 222 people arrested for shooting someone were black. Whites made up less than 3 percent of both shooting victims and arrests, and Hispanics made up 25.4 percent and 21.5 percent of suspects and arrests respectively.
Blacks also made up a majority of those questioned in the city's stop-and-frisk program at almost 56 percent, and the majority of the city's manslaughter victims at just under 64 percent.
The numbers are almost identical to last year's report , where 74 percent of shooting victims and 78 percent of shooting suspects were black. Community activists say the near stagnant numbers are a troubling account of economic disparities and the police department's focus on communities of color.
“It’s all a battle between the haves and the have-nots,” said Tony Herbert, president of the National Action Network’s Brooklyn East Chapter. “In the end, it’s survival of the fittest, and there are some who want to bring weapons into the mix. That’s what it comes down to.”
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has used these statistics to defend the city's stop-and-frisk program, saying officers don't stop minorities because of their race but because of the prevalence of crime in particular communities. But the city's mayor-elect, Bill de Blasio, has reportedly vowed to drop the appeal for the August ruling that the program violated the civil rights of tens of thousands of blacks and Hispanics, and said he won't keep Kelly as police commissioner when he takes office in January.
"If you believe that our young men of color should be respected and celebrated and not treated like suspects even when they've done nothing wrong, then you'll be with me as we make these changes," he said during a speech at the National Action Network in Harlem.