Will the Courts End Stop-and-Frisk?

The battle over stop-and-risk in New York City is nowhere near cooling down.  New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly continues to voraciously defend the policy,as critics of the racial profiling tool gain momentum. With the NYPD showing no signs of slowing down or reforming stop-and-frisk, the implication now is that it will be up to the courts (and probably cameras) to make change.  

From New York Magazine:

In the past few months, the courts have ruled against the city in three cases. In May, Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled that the case of four plaintiffs who say they were unlawfully stopped could be bumped up to a class-action suit. Notably, Judge Shira Scheindlin remarked in her decision that the NYPD showed "a deeply troubling apathy towards New Yorkers' most fundamental constitutional rights." Then in June a Manhattan appeals court overturned two teenagers' weapons convictions, ruling that officers didn't have reasonable suspicion to stop the boys. Again, the majority attacked the policy, saying, "The gradual erosion of this basic liberty can only tatter the constitutional fabric upon which this nation was built."

Standing by their claims that stop-and-frisk "saves lives," Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Kelly, and their allies at the New YorkPosthave accused the courts of playing with fire.  But by refusing to acknowledge the fundamental problems with stop-and-frisk, Bloomberg and Kelly may be setting themselves up for an overhaul.

NY Mag:

[...]The appeals create an opportunity for the courts to issue a ruling that could drastically alter the way the searches are conducted. When a case involving Philadelphia's stop-and-frisk policy settled last year, the court imposed more police monitoring. A lawyer for the Center for Constitutional Rights said that similarly, in the New York class-action case it's pushing for independent oversight of the NYPD.

Read more here

AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at July 11, 2012, 8:41am

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