A federal judge has found that the stop-and-frisk practice of the New York Police department violates the constitutional rights of many New Yorkers.
Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, ruled that police officers have for years been stopping innocent people on the street without any substantial reason to suspect them of wrongdoing. These people, usually young minority men, were then frisked for weapons or searched for drugs.
These stop-and-frisk occurrences demonstrated a disregard for the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. It also found violations with the 14th amendment.
The judge decided that an outside lawyer would be used to monitor the Police Department’s compliance with the Constitution. Judge Scheindlin heard testimony from about a dozen African American or biracial men and a woman who described being stopped, and she heard from statistical experts who offered their conclusions based on police paperwork describing 4.43 million stops between 2004 and mid-2012. She found that the NY police had overstepped their authority to stop and frisk suspicious individuals. The officers were too quick to deem as a suspicious behavior that was perfectly innocent.
About 88% of the stops resulted in the police letting the person go without an arrest or ticket.
Read more here.
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