Saturday, November 2, 2013

Boisterous Protests at Brown University Curtail Speech by New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly

Students at the prestigious Ivy League Brown University had a petition with over 500 signatures requesting that the scheduled speech by New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly be cancelled. Students were outraged over the NYPD's "stop and frisk" policy which was called "racial profiling" by a federal District Court Judge. When Brown University refused to concede to their demands, the students staged boisterous demonstrations both inside and outside the auditorium where Kelly was set to speak, forcing the cancellation of Kelly's speech midstream.

Ray Kelly Lecture at Brown Shut Down By Protest, Brown Daily Herald, YouTube, Oct. 29, 2013

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."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

ARCHIVES: Scalia Protests at Princeton University (2001)

University Welcomes Scalia amidst Student Protests, The Daily Princetonian, By MOLLY GULLAND, Feb. 23. 2001

When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia comes to the University to speak this afternoon, he will not be well received by every member of the community. A group calling themselves the F23 Ad Hoc Committee — F23 stands for Feb. 23 — will be staging a protest at 7:30 p.m. outside McCosh Hall.

"Basically, we wanted to make people realize we don't think it's ok for [Scalia] to be invited to campus to speak on our behalf," said Traci Schlesinger GS, who helped organize the event.

Originally, the committee — made up mostly of members of the Democratic Left — expected a small turnout, but received a large response to its e-mail announcing the event, according to Schlesinger.

Despite enthusiastic replies to the e-mail, the group has no estimate of expected participation because organizations that responded did not say how many members they would send. Yesterday's snowfall also may limit attendance.

"We're really unsure how big it will be . . . we think there will be a lot more support than we had originally expected," Schlesinger said.

Scalia — known as one of the most conservative members of the Court — has sparked controversy with many of his views on current political issues. Traditionally, Scalia has ruled against abortion and affirmative action. He also sat on the court during this year's election crisis.

Ian Rozdilsky, a post-doctorate fellow in ecology who is also involved in the event, said the 2000 election was the greatest motivating factor for the protest.

"We believe Scalia's decision over the election was a deathblow to democracy," he said.

According to Schlesinger, the College Democrats, Princeton Pro-Choice and Black Graduate Caucus were just a few of the campus organizations planning to send members to the protest.

Outside groups, including the New Jersey National Organization for Women and Democratic March, also plan to attend, Rozdilsky said. He added that the committee has received encouragement from groups as far away as Florida and Texas, and said there is "widespread support [for the protest] outside the Princeton campus."

The committee plans to hand out flyers with pointed questions to people attending the talk, hoping some audience members will make the justice answer them.

Protesters will also carry picket signs and chant protests throughout Scalia's appearance.

The committee has no other events planned after today's protest — it wants to send a specific message to the University about its decision to invite Scalia to speak here.

"We believe that Princeton shouldn't welcome someone who has acted as Scalia, against democracy," Rozdilsky said.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Voter Registration in Supreme Court

Voter Registration in Supreme Court Spotlight, By Jake Grovum, Staff Writer, March 15, 2013

A key provision of the two-decade-old National Voter Registration Act hangs in the balance as the Supreme Court on Monday hears a challenge that, if successful, could make registering to vote more complicated.

The justices will once again weigh states’ rights against voting rights as the court hears the challenge, brought by the state of Arizona, against a provision of the voter registration law that is credited with streamlining the country’s voter registration process.

The case centers on a dispute over Arizona’s voter-approved Proposition 200, which was enacted in 2004 and requires voters to prove their U.S. citizenship before registering to vote. The law contradicts the federal measure, and the clash has grown to incorporate the broader arguments over state control of elections featured prominently in recent court battles over voter ID requirements and a challenge to the Voting Rights Act.