Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Judge Rejects New York’s Stop-and-Frisk Policy

Judge Rejects New York’s Stop-and-Frisk Policy, New York Times, by Joseph Goldstein, August 12, 2013

"A federal judge ruled on Monday that the stop-and-frisk tactics of the New York Police Department violated the constitutional rights of minorities in the city, repudiating a major element in the Bloomberg administration’s crime-fighting legacy...

But the judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, found that the Police Department resorted to a “policy of indirect racial profiling” as it increased the number of stops in minority communities. That has led to officers’ routinely stopping “blacks and Hispanics who would not have been stopped if they were white.”

The judge called for a federal monitor to oversee broad reforms, including the use of body-worn cameras for some patrol officers, though she was “not ordering an end to the practice of stop-and-frisk.”

In her 195-page decision, Judge Scheindlin concluded that the stops, which soared in number over the last decade as crime continued to decline, demonstrated a widespread disregard for the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government, as well as the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause...

The judge found that for much of the last decade, patrol officers had stopped innocent people without any objective reason to suspect them of wrongdoing. But her criticism went beyond the conduct of police officers.

“I also conclude that the city’s highest officials have turned a blind eye to the evidence that officers are conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner,” she wrote, citing statements that Mr. Bloomberg and the police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, have made in defending the policy.

The judge named Peter L. Zimroth, a partner in Arnold & Porter L.L.P., and a former corporation counsel and prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office, to monitor the Police Department’s compliance with the United States Constitution. The installation of a monitor will leave the department under a degree of judicial control that is certain to shape the policing strategies under the next mayor."


Unconstitutional: Federal judge slams 'stop and frisk', RT America, Aug. 12, 2013

"A federal judge ruled Monday that the stop-and-frisk tactics used by the New York Police Department violates the constitutional rights of minorities, much to the chagrin of city officials who insist it's a legitimate crime-fighting tool. Judge Shira Scheindlin said that the controversial policy practiced by the NYPD for years unconstitutionally singled out minorities, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he will appeal the court's ruling that would require the city to place a federal monitor to oversee the program.

Carl Dix, co-founder of Stop "Stop and Frisk," weighs in on the decision with RT's Meghan Lopez."