A major blow was struck against the New York Police Department‘s controversial “stop-and-frisk” tactic earlier today (August 12). A federal judge has ruled that the practice violates the constitutional rights of minority citizens in the city.
As reported by the New York Times, United States District Court judge Shira A. Scheindlin found the NYPD in violation of the rights of Blacks and Latinos who were disproportionately stopped and investigated on suspicion of crime without reason.
Judge Scheindlin has also called for the use of a federal monitor who will oversee reforms to the police practice, which the court saw as overstepping the Fourth and 14th Amendments of the Constitution.
The judge sided with groups who found that stop-and-frisk was essentially a tool of racial discrimination and rejected the notion that stops happened in minority neighborhoods because of the crime rate.
“[The NYPD has] adopted a policy of indirect racial profiling by targeting racially defined groups for stops based on local crime suspect data,” wrote Judge Scheindlin in her decision. She added, “I also conclude that the city’s highest officials have turned a blind eye to the evidence that officers are conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner.”
The judge upheld and mentioned that the Supreme Court’s earlier decision that stop-and-frisk, under certain circumstances, was necessary. This ruling does not call for an end to the practice but it will seek to jump start reforms that protect “the rights and liberties of all New Yorkers” according to the judge’s written statements.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg will address the ruling today at 1 p.m. at a press conference. City officials have offered no further comment.
Photo: Animal New York