New York Minorities Say Stop but Don’t Frisk [video]

Court Blocks Judge's Ruling

Judge Removed from CaseMinorities in New York are saying if you must stop us please don’t frisk. Recorded stop-and-frisks have dramatically increased under the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In 2011 it reached an all-time high of 684,330 with most of the victims being blacks and Hispanics. Thursday a judge who found the New York’s stop-and-frisk policy to be discriminatory was removed.

Four minority males filed a lawsuit in 2004 which became a class action case. Civil rights advocates have long criticized the stop-and-frisk law.

Close to 5 million stops were made in New York within the last decade. At least half of those stops including the act of frisking.

Prior to making a stop NYPD must have a reasonable amount of suspicion that a crime is about to happen or has already happened. Only around 10 percent of the stops made have resulted in an arrests or summons. Weapons have only been found closer to 2 percent of the time.

Supporters of the judge’s ruling to amend the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program say the changes will cause unfair practices to cease and will shape a wider trusted police force. Ultimately the changes could potentially alter how other police jurisdictions use the policy.

Those who oppose the changes say it will only reduce the overall morale of the police but won’t reduce crime at all.

Bill de Blasio, A democratic candidate, has gravely criticized the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk technique and has vowed to reform it. He agrees with many who say it targets minorities unfairly. He said Thursday’s decision was extremely disappointing.

The 2nd Circuit said cases challenging stop-and-frisk policies will be assigned to a different, randomly chosen, judge.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals also said Judge Scheindlin’s rulings will remain, pending the appeal of the city’s outcome.

The judge ruled in August the city violated the Constitution by the way it carried out its program of stopping, questioning and frisking people. The city appealed her findings and her remedial orders, including a decision to assign a monitor to help the police department change its policy and the training program associated with it.

During arguments, lawyers in the case said the police department hasn’t had to do anything except meet with a monitor since the judge’s decision. The city insists that officers are fearful of stopping and frisking suspects now and as a result the number has drastically been reduced.

The three-judge appeals panel, which heard arguments on the requested stay on Tuesday, noted that the case might be affected in a major way by next week’s mayoral election.

After a 10-week civil trial that ended in the spring, Judge Scheindlin ruled that NYPD officers violated the civil rights of thousands of people by wrongly targeting Hispanic and black men with this particular law.

Scheindlin appointed an outside monitor to oversee major changes, including supervision, training and reforms in policies. She also issued orders for a pilot program to test body-worn cameras.

The judge stated that the law itself is constitutional and she wasn’t trying to end the stop-and-frisk practice in its entirety. She was only interested in changing the way the NYPD implemented its stops.

A U.S. appeals court has frozen reforms ordered by the court to the New York City Police Department’s stop-and-frisk program. This program has become very controversial. They also removed the judge who found the police tactic unconstitutional claiming she didn’t properly follow the judicial code of conduct.

The city has said that it is pleased with the appeal. Michael Cardozo, the City’s lawyer, said it allows for an independent and fresh look into the issue.

Blacks and Hispanics in New York are saying stop if you must but please don’t unnecessarily frisk.

 

 

By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)

Reuters

NY Times

Seattle PI

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