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Federal judge rules against New York City’s ‘stop & frisk’ law, calls it ‘unconstitutional

‘Stop & frisk’ law

Federal judge rules against New York City’s ‘stop & frisk’ law, calls it ‘unconstitutional

By Victor Trammell

      New York City’s policy of racial profiling called the stop-and-frisk program finally has gotten the battering blow it deserves. A federal judge ruled that a component of the program being imposed in the Bronx is an unconstitutional violation of citizen rights. People have been stopped and harassed by police without probable cause.

     The judge’s decision should have a crippling effect on a questionable program, which met heavy opposition. New York civil rights advocates, legal groups, community organizations, and politicians were among the groups adamantly opposed to the stop and frisk program. The program disproportionately profiles Blacks and Latinos in New York City. Judge Shira A. Scheindlin’s 157-page ruling is extensive and seeks justice. Scheindlin also suggests that the city’s officers are being improperly trained.

     Christopher T. Dunn is an attorney for the New York Civil Liberties Union. He represents a plaintiff in a case involving a major lawsuit against New York City Hall. In an interview with The New York Times, Dunn 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.” (New York Times)

     New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly remained hard-nosed in his position on stop and frisk. He defended the Bronx program, which is called Clean Halls. Kelly said the program offered “less prosperous” tenants of Bronx residential buildings “a modicum of safety… Their landlords explicitly requested this extra level of protection.” Kelly added:

     “Today’s decision unnecessarily interferes with the department’s efforts to use all of the crime-fighting tools necessary to keep Clean Halls buildings safe and secure,” (New York Times)


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