If you're one of the NYPD's lucky stop-and-frisk customers this year (183,326 and counting!) the police is giving you a slightly less opaque reason as to why they roughed you up. New forms that officers fill out following a stop include a "Reason for Force Used" field that gives officers the choice of checking a box that describes the situation leading up to the rough stop. The choices are: "suspect reaching for suspected weapon" (like this innocent teenager), "suspect flight," "defense of self," "defense of other," and "overcome resistance." If those don't quite paint a nuanced picture of what happened, there's always the classic "other" box that allows the officer to jot down why you were worth their time. Presumably this is to save room on the form so they don't have to print both "brown" and "black."

The new forms come after the results of a study performed by the Rand Corp. advised that officers needed to better explain stops that involved force. What the study did not confirm was that the NYPD was displaying racial bias in their stop- and-frisks. Despite the fact that blacks and Latinos made up 85% of 2010's stops, Rand believed that this is another example of Simpson's Paradox, and that "similarly situated" whites were stopped at a roughly proportional rate [pdf]. Whether or not you trust in their methodology, you can't argue with the numbers, and the NYPD is well on its way to shattering last year's stop and frisk record of 601,055 stops.

"Does this new form promise to give honest answers?" NYCLU director Donna Lieberman asked the Daily News. "I doubt that." Maybe not, but it sure will make it easier to do a few more studies.