Civil Rights

Judge Says NYC Stop-and-Frisk Violates Fourth Amendment

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A federal judge that New York City’s stop-and-frisk program, as currently practiced, violates the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures.

This is huge — and excellent — news in a city that has seen the number of stops , and for which stop-and-frisk has become both routine yet largely unnoticed.

New Yorkers living in TriBeCa or on the Upper West Side are likely to have never heard of stop-and-frisk, or to have at best a vague understanding of its mechanics. Residents of the South Bronx or Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, however, live with the realities of stop-and-frisk every day. While proponents of the policy like to pretend that it is largely responsible for the decline in New York’s violent crime Cheap Burberry Cashmere Scarf rate, that less than 0.2 percent of stops yield a gun.

And the fact of the matter is that stop-and-frisk overwhelmingly targets minorities. In 2012, fully 87 percent of those stopped were black or Latino. And, as noted in , a professor and mentor of mine, data from 2009 show that “blacks and Latinos were over nine times more likely to be stopped than whites, but less likely to have committed an offense.”

As the , no one has ever empirically proven that stop-and-frisk has had any effect on crime. As the NYCLU notes:

While violent crimes fell 29 percent in New York City from 2001 to 2010, other large cities experienced larger violent crime declines without relying on stop and frisk abuses: 59 percent in Los Angeles, 56 percent in New Orleans, 49 percent in Dallas, and 37 percent in Baltimore.

So today’s ruling is a huge step in the right direction, and has the added benefit of bringing the stop-and-frisk debate to the fore, at long last. The more people see of this tactic, the less they will like it.

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