Judge: NYC Stop-And-Frisk Found Unconstitutional, Will Continue

Today a Federal judge has ruled the New York City Police Department’s controversial “stop and frisk” tactic is unconstitutional and announced plans to appoint an unaffiliated monitor to oversee changes to the program. However damning the ruling, the program will continue for the time being. Above you can watch the NYPD’s instructional video on stop and frisk and how the officer must have reasonable suspicion that a person is carrying a firearm before they can frisk them.

According to the AP, Judge Shira Scheindlin of the U.S. District Court, chose Peter Zimroth, a former chief assistant district attorney, to serve as the monitor. According to his biography at Arnold & Porter LLP, Zimroth has a long history of public service. He spent time clerking for US Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas, served as editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Review, and was an assistant US attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Most notably and applicable to his new role as monitor, Zimroth fought to overturn zoning laws banning mosques from being built in certain New Jersey neighborhoods, and argued to uphold a law in New York City that prohibited the discrimination of women in “private clubs.”

The case, Floyd, et al. v. City of New York, et al., was a civil action suit brought against the city of New York by four people claimed they were unfairly targeted for frisking due to their race.

stop and frisk

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly gave a press conference this afternoon in reaction to the judge’s decision. Bloomberg expressed outrage over the decision and asserted that the city was not given a fair trial and vowed to appeal the decision.

He used the fact that crime rates have decreased drastically under his administration to justify the program. Bloomberg even said that the reason people in minority neighborhoods were afraid of the NYPD was because many of them come from cultures and countries where police are the enemy.

He concluded the press conference to say that “crime could come back at any time,” and that the judges decision today hurts the safety of all New Yorkers.

Mayoral hopefully Bill De Blasio and NYC Public Advocate released a statement on the ruling Monday afternoon saying:

The courts have just affirmed facts that too many New Yorkers know to be true: under the Bloomberg Administration, with the acquiescence of Speaker Quinn, millions of innocent New Yorkers — overwhelmingly young men of color — have been illegally stopped. The overuse and misuse of stop-and-frisk hasn’t made New York a safer city, it has only served to drive police and community further apart. The only way to end the abuse of stop-and-frisk in New York City is with real reform, and I am the only candidate committed to enacting the changes we urgently need. We must override Mayor Bloomberg’s vetoes of legislation to ban racial profiling and to create an independent inspector general for the NYPD.

De Blasio is currently in third place in the polls behind Christine Quinn and William Thompson Jr.

You can read the judges ruling and remedy below:

You can also read the stats relating to race and stop-and frisk below via the Center for Constitutional Rights: