12 August 2013


There was huge ruling in New York today as U.S. District judge Shira Sheindlin declared the New York Police Department’s “stop-and-frisk” policy unconstitutional. 

I’ve written about the law before when I donated to the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has been instrumental in fighting the policy, which, it argued, established a pattern of racial profiling and was unconstitutional. 

In a nutshell, NYPD officers were allegedly disproportionately stopping Blacks and Hispanics and frisking them. When I say disproportionately, I mean wildly so... They stopped more than the total black male population of NYC  they were so overzealous. The amount of minorities stopped amounted to more than 80% of all stop-and-frisks, when the actual minority population was less than half that.  Total stops have increased from 160,851 in 2003 to 685,724 in 2011, according to an independent study conducted by, among others, John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Of these stops, a knife or gun was found on 1.01% of those stopped.

Scheindlin agreed with the plaintiffs. However, NYC Mayor Bloomberg has already announced the city’s intent to appeal. 

The Center for Constitutional Rights works with a number of other organizations under the moniker Communities United for Police Reform (CPR). Among the activities of CPR is to distribute booklets in communities of color detailing an individual’s rights and to spread the word on the alleged racial profiling. It is also behind The Community Safety Act, police reform legislation aimed at ending patterns of discrimination and holding the NYPD accountable. 

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