Stop-and-Frisk Unconstitutional: Judge Rules on NYC Policing Tactic

Image: Stop-and-Frisk Unconstitutional: Judge Rules on NYC Policing Tactic District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin.

Monday, 12 Aug 2013 03:14 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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The New York City Police Department’s stop-and-frisk tactic was ruled unconstitutional Monday by a U.S. Federal judge. The policy allowed police to randomly search anyone deemed suspicious.

District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin said the stop-and-frisk tactic was “indirect racial profiling,” Reuters reported, and caused thousands of blacks and Hispanics to be targeted by police.

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg had argued the tactic has lowered crime in the city.

“To be very clear: I am not ordering an end to the practice of stop and frisk,” Scheindlin wrote. “The purpose of the remedies addressed in this Opinion is to ensure that the practice is carried out in a manner that protects the rights and liberties of all New Yorkers, while still providing much needed police protection.”

Scheindlein said there should be an independent monitor and ordered other changes to police policies, Reuters said.

Reuters said the judge’s opinions were pertinent to two lawsuits, one by the New York Civil Liberties Union and the other from the Center for Constitutional Rights, which put out a statement about the issue.

“This historic victory is the result not only of our 14 years of litigation, but of decades’ worth of efforts by activists, grassroots and legal organizations, and affected communities,” said Senior Staff Attorney Darius Charney in the statement. “The NYPD is finally being held to account for its longstanding illegal and discriminatory policing practices. The City must now stop denying the problem and partner with the community to create a police department that protects the safety and respects the rights of all New Yorkers.”

In the statement, CCR said the NYPD had a record number of stops in 2011 at 685,724, a 600 percent increase since 2002 when Raymond Kelly became NYPD commissioner. Eighty-four percent of those stopped were black or Latino, and 88 percent of the people stopped were neither arrested nor received summonses, the statement said.

Reuters said Bloomberg has “resisted interference in his police policies,” especially this one commonly called “stop and frisk.” There has been a 30 percent reduction in violent crimes since 2001, the news agency said.

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Related stories:

Rich Lowry: NYPD Chief Lowry Deserves Applause for “Stop and Frisk”

NYPD’s Ray Kelly: “Stop and Frisk” Saved 7,383 Lives

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