News Column

Judge: New York's Stop-and-Frisk is Unconstitutional

August 12, 2013

A judge ruled Monday that the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk policy violates constitutional rights and called for federal oversight of reforms.

In her ruling, Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, of the Federal District Court in Manhattan, said police officers stopped and frisked innocent people -- usually young minority men -- without any objective reason to suspect them of wrongdoing, The New York Times reported.

The policy violates the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, and the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees equal protection, Scheindlin said in her ruling.

Scheindlin noted that about 88 percent of the 4.43 million people stopped and frisked by police between 2004 and mid-2012 were let go without an arrest or ticket.

"No person may be stopped because he matches a vague or generalized description -- such as male black 18 to 24 -- without further detail," Scheindlin wrote in her 195-page decision.

As part of her ruling, Scheindlin appointed former city corporation counsel Peter Zimroth as a monitor to oversee the NYPD's compliance with the Constitution, the New York Daily News reported.

"To be very clear, I am not ordering an end to the practice of stop and frisk," Scheindlin wrote. The goal 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."



Source: Copyright UPI 2013


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