Monday, August 12, 2013

CM Letitia James: “Today’s ruling reflects the urgency many of us feel about reforming stop and frisk”

AUGUST 12, 2013

Contact: Aja Worthy-Davis (212) 788-7081

Council Member Letitia James: “Today’s ruling reflects the urgency many of us feel about reforming stop and frisk” 
Federal Judge Rules Stop and Frisk Violated Constitutional Rights of Thousands of New Yorkers

(New York, NY)— Today, Manhattan Federal District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ruled in Floyd vs. the City of New York that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) stop-and-frisk policy violated the constitutional rights of tens of thousands of New Yorkers.

In the decision, Judge Scheindlin recognized that police officers have systematically stopped people without any objective reason to suspect them of criminal behavior, and thus violation individual’s Fourth Amendment rights.

In January 2013, Judge Scheindlin ruled that the NYPD’s policy of stopping individuals suspected of trespassing outside private buildings in the Bronx was also unconstitutional. This was a practice common in private residences participating in the Trespass Affidavit Program (TAP). Judge Scheindlin ruled in Ligon vs. the City of New York that reasonable suspicion of trespassing was necessary for such arrests, while acknowledging that the department must determine where to draw the line between justified and unjustified stops. The court ruled that the NYPD must create a formal policy ‘specifying the limited circumstances in which it is legally permissible to stop a person outside a TAP building on a suspicion of trespass’.

Similarly, in today’s ruling, Judge Scheindlin called for a federal monitor to oversee departmental reforms, and stated her intention to assign an independent attorney to monitor the NYPD’s compliance with the Constitution moving forward.

“Today’s ruling reflects the urgency many of us feel about reforming stop and frisk in New York, and preserving the liberties of Black and Latino youth throughout this City,” said Council Member Letitia James. “It is imperative that the administration and the police department move to make transparent the rationale for street stops, as well as define long-used terms such as ‘furtive movements’. I hope that following these federal rulings, the administration moves towards making the necessary changes to facilitate a healthier relationship with minority communities.”


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