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Forget Bloomberg’s nanny state

I have seen it with my own eyes, and heard the stories of cousins, brothers and friends. Innocent of crime, guilty of no infraction, they are harassed, placed against walls, handcuffed, sometimes released, sometimes incited -- but never respected. For many African-American citizens of New York City, there is an axiomatic truth that the New York Police Department neither serves nor protects them.

This month, NYPD's controversial stop-and-frisk policy -- which entails officers regularly stopping predominantly black and Latino men and frisking them for weapons and drugs -- went on trial in federal Court. The class-action lawsuit, Floyd v. City of New York, challenges the NYPD policy on the basis that it violates the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause, and the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure. According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, the NYPD's own data show hundreds of thousands of unconstitutional stops in the past three years alone, and expert analysis of their data -- controlling for crime, neighborhood and patterns of police deployment -- has found that the mitigating factor in NYPD stops is race.

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