Judge Rules Stop-And-Frisk Tactics Violate Constitutional Rights

To the chagrin of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, relief may be on the way for New York’s minorities. Both police commissioner Raymond Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg recently defended the NYPD’s practice of stopping innocent people on the street to search them — better known as stop-and-frisk — as legal and necessary to keep crime down. As of Monday (August 12), a federal judge has decided otherwise.

U.S. District Court judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that stop-and-frisk practices have violated the constitutional rights of New York minorities. According to the ruling, the widely disapproved security tactic “demonstrated a widespread disregard for the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government” as well as the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. Judge Scheindlin ordered an independent federal monitor oversee broad reforms.

While there will be foreseeable changes, the judge stressed that she was not ordering an end to the practice of stop-and-frisk. The modifications will ensure that the practice is executed in ways that protect the rights and liberties of all New Yorkers.

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