Wednesday (May 16), a federal judge approved a class action suit challenging the NYPD's Stop-and-Frisk program. The suit is considerably good news for those who claim they were unlawfully stopped, questioned and frisked by the police.
The lawsuit claims the NYPD's practices under the program are unconstitutional and specifically target Blacks and Hispanics. The ruling allows anyone who has been stopped and frisked from January 2005 onward to be a part of the plaintiff. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly had little to say about the decision but continued to defend the program.
"My understanding is the polls show overwhelming support by the public for the tactics that we've been using to bring down crime. There's always going to be somebody that disagrees and they have the right," stated Bloomberg.
Communities across the five boroughs are taking a stand against the policy, which has seen an increased number of stops from this time last year. 203,000 have been made from January to March alone and communities believe it to be no mistake that race plays a part. The Bronx Defenders is one organization who taking a lead role in challenging abusive policing practices through litigation, data collection, community organizing and policy reform.
We can only continue to be advocates for the end or ease of this program. A program intended to get guns off the street has turned into something much more alarming.