Judges Rules “Stop-and-Frisk” Unconstitutional

A federal judge ruled on Monday that the New York Police Department’s use of “Stop-and-Frisk” tactics was unconstitutional.

via j-no on flickr
via j-no on flickr

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin found that the NYPD engaged in “indirect racial profiling,” primarily stopping men of color and searching for weapons or drugs without sufficient justification. Though the Supreme Court has upheld the right of law enforcement to stop those who are behaving suspiciously, the judge found that the high rate of stops that did not lead to arrest showed that the NYPD had overstepped their authority. In her opinion Scheindlin wrote, “No one should live in fear of being stopped whenever he leaves his home to go about the activities of daily life.”

Despite her ruling, Scheindlin did not eliminate stop-and-frisks. Instead, Scheindlin appointed an outside lawyer,Peter Zimroth, to oversee the police department’s compliance with the Constitution as well as other changes to the policy.

In January 2013, Scheindlin ordered a temporary injunction against the stop-and-frisk policy while the case was pending.

Media Resources: CBS/AP 8/12/13; New York Times 8/12/2013; REuters 8/12/2013; Feminist Newswire 1/5/2013

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