Judge Rules Stop-And-Frisk In NYC Unconstitutional, But Will Continue To Allow It With Strict Regulations
Not too long ago, while moving about in Bed-Stuy, I witnessed two young men being stopped and frisked. Because they weren’t dressed in a stereotypical or seedy manner at all (button down shirts and jeans) I initially they were being stopped for something they did before turning on to the same corner I was on. But as I continued to be nosy, watched them get patted down against a brick wall (and yelled at), only to turn back around and see the police drive away as the men were left where they were standing, hella confused, I realized they clearly had done nothing. Whatever assumptions police had about these men they were clearly wrong about, and all it took to figure this out was to embarrass the men in front of a good number of other people and put a damper on their evening. If you were living under a rock, racial profiling is real.
Stop-and-Frisk has been a major topic for a while now, especially since findings were published in the Village Voice years back that exposed an overwhelming majority of those being stopped were black and Hispanic and that in reality, only one out of eight people were being arrested for actually doing something wrong. Well, according to ABC News, today U.S. District Judge Shira Sheindlin concluded that the current Stop-and-Frisk practice in New York City is unconstitutional as it unfairly allows cops to target black and Hispanic men far more than whites. While Mayor Bloomberg has a been a big advocate of Stop-and-Frisk, saying that the low crime rate over the last few years has been because of the practice, Sheindlin said to day that “Many police practices may be useful for fighting crime — preventive detention or coerced confessions, for example — but because they are unconstitutional they cannot be used, no matter how effective.”
The city’s highest officials have turned a blind eye to the evidence that officers are conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner.”
While all of this was concluded, Sheindlin is allowing a form of Stop-and-Frisk to continue, but with major overhaul and strict regulations put in place.
Judge Sheindlin ordered that stop-and-frisk tactics only continue with the oversight of a federal monitor and that body-worn cameras will be attached to cops in one precinct per borough to keep an eye on officers. She also seeks to have a “community-based joint remedial process” take place in order to better the relations between cops and the community, seeing as the civil rights of many have been violated over and over where Stop-and-Frisk has taken place.
We’ll have to wait and see if this actually improves things, but as long as Stop-and-Frisk is allowed, cameras or no cameras, those in power will continue to profile folks by their race and treat those young men in the community minding their business as common criminals.