Federal Court Rules Part Of Stop-And-Frisk Unconstitutional
New York City’s controversial stop-and-frisk program was dealt a major blow yesterday when a federal judge ruled a major component of the law unconstitutional in a decision that could have far-reaching effects.
Manhattan District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin found unconstitutional a program targeting “trespassers” on private residences in The Bronx. The Trespass Affidavit Program operates only in buildings with consent from property managers and landlords. But after hearing evidence, including the testimony of nine Latino and black residents detained by police, Judge Scheindlin found issue with how the program was taught and enforced.
Interestingly, Scheindlin appears not to have ruled against the entire idea of stop-and-frisk. She didn’t cease the TAP program, but just insisted that officers must have “reasonable cause”- something technically already part of stop-and-frisk, but not overseen very carefully. How this will be enforced is unclear, and Scheindlin will hear arguments about alternatives.
Still, opponents to stop-and-frisk rejoiced:
Christopher T. Dunn, a lawyer for the New York Civil Liberties Union, one of the groups representing the plaintiffs, said, “If New York City has any sense, it will use this ruling as an opportunity to start a wholesale reform of stop and frisk.”
What do you think?
[via NY Times]