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Federal Judge Rules Stop-And-Frisk Unconstitutional

Submitted by on August 13, 2013 – 8:22 amNo Comment

A judge has ruled that the controversial New York City Stop-and-Frisk policing policy is unconstitutional. Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ordered that an outside party will oversee changes to the policy, but it is unclear how stop-and-frisk will move forward after these findings of wrongdoing.

Ruling in a class action suit against the City and the NYPD, Judge Scheindlin found that the stop-and-frisk program violated the fourth amendment by not in practice requiring reasonable suspicion to search a person. Judge Scheindlin also found that the program violated equal protection under the fourteenth amendment, targeting minorities and minority neighborhoods even when relevant crime statistics did not support such targeting.

Scheindlin singled out race as pivotal in her decision:

“The city’s highest officials have turned a blind eye to the evidence that officers are conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner… In their zeal to defend a policy that they believe to be effective, they have willfully ignored overwhelming proof that the policy of targeting ‘the right people’ is racially discriminatory and therefore violates the United States Constitution.”

The New York Civil Liberties Union recently reported that the NYPD had logged its 5 millionth stop-and-frisk under Mayor Bloomberg. This week, the organization praised the judicial decision, calling the program “illegal and biased,” and saying they are looking forward to reforming it.

In January, Judge Scheindlin struck down a smaller part of the program that allowed allowed landlords and building managers in the Bronx to grant prior consent to police to investigate “trespassers.” But Judge Scheindlin similarly found that the program was detaining and searching suspects without probable cause.

What do you think of the latest ruling?


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