There’s no doubt that the policy was used to target minorities, and little doubt that it was an abuse of power, even though it seemed to be somewhat effective.
Frankly, I’m surprised it took this long to strike “stop and frisk” down:
A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that New York’s controversial practice of “stop and frisk” is unconstitutional, on grounds that it unfairly singles out racial groups.
The policy allows police officers to stop, question, and possibly search a person if the officer has suspicions that person has or may commit a crime. The policy was invoked 4.4 million times between 2004 and 2012, according to the judge’s ruling. And it has been effective. The Atlantic recently reported that “in 2011, 770 guns were recovered across New York during frisks. That amounts to a 30 percent increase over 2003, when 594 guns were recovered.”
But here’s what has raised eyebrows, and prompted the litigation: In that 2004-2012 time frame, 80 percent of those stopped in New York City were black or Hispanic. In 2010, blacks and Hispanics made up about 50 percent of the city’s population.
U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin put it in no unclear terms as to why the program should be reevaluated. Regardless of how well the policy works, she wrote in an opinion Monday, it violates constitutional protections.
Minority gang-bangers in Brooklyn and the Bronx tend to be violent criminals more than the hipsters of Manhattan, so it isn’t shocking that the cops targeted this demographic, and it isn’t shocking that the policy seems to have driven crime down. Knowing they could be stopped for any reason at all, criminals left their guns at home unless they had a specific intent to use them, like the 14 y/o gang-banger Douse that got ventilated by the NYPD recently as he attempted to murder a rival gang member for the second time this year.
The problem is, no matter how effective the policy was, no one should be subject to be stopped and frisked without justification. Merely walking down the street doesn’t justify being accosted by cops, even in a slave state like New York.