Federal trial to challenge NYPD over its stop-and-frisk tactic
NEW YORK — The New York Police Department's practice of stopping, questioning and frisking people on the street will have its biggest legal challenge this week in a federal civil rights trial on whether the tactic unfairly targets minorities.
Police have made about 5 million stops of New Yorkers in a decade, mostly black and Hispanic men. The trial, set to begin on Monday, will include testimony from a dozen people who say they were targeted because of their race and from police who say they were forced into making stops by bosses focused on numbers.
“When we say stop, question and frisk, we're not talking about a brief inconvenience on the way to work or school,” said Darius Charney of the Center for Constitutional Rights, the lead attorney. “We're talking about a frightening, humiliating experience that has happened to many folks.”
U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin, who had said in rulings that she is deeply concerned about stop and frisk, is not being asked to ban the tactic, because it has been found to be legal. But she does have the power to order reforms, which could bring major changes to how departments use the tactic.
Street stops have become a New York flashpoint, with demonstrations, City Council hearings and, most recently, days of protests because police had shot a teenager who authorities said pulled out a gun during a stop.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly maintain it is a necessary, lifesaving, crime-fighting tool. Street stops increased substantially in New York in the mid-1990s, when then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani made stop and frisk an integral part of the city's law enforcement
Philadelphia settled a civil rights lawsuit last year over its stop-and-frisk program by agreeing to court monitoring, and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee backed off plans to adopt stop and frisk after weeks of criticism last summer.
A 1968 Supreme Court decision established the benchmark of “reasonable suspicion” — a standard that is lower than the “probable cause” needed to justify an arrest.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Suspect in Colorado attack called loner who left few clues
- Nuclear crossroad: California reactors face uncertain future
- Plasma burp seen in star’s destruction by black hole
- Chicago retail district targeted by protesters
- Floods claim lives in Texas
- American held captive in Cuba for 5 years expected quick release
- Man accused of jumping White House fence left suicide note, authorities say
- FBI to begin tracking animal cruelty cases
- Transgender homicides spike in United States
- Foreign policy expert: Obama administration should create Syria safe areas
- Arizona panel directs cash for border fence to technology