Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

NYC’s Stop and Frisk deemed unconstitutional

Written By: Bob - Aug• 12•13

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.

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  1. Old Gringo says:

    I’m glad. For the sake of all of any race, who can now go back to CCW (while risking horrendous penalties for doing so), in order to protect themselves and their loved ones.

  2. Steven says:

    I didn’t like this program even from the start. My problem with it is simple: The Law works by PRECEDENT.

    Once a precedent is set it **will** be used over and over. It never, barring a judge putting a check on it, be recinded.

    Sure, it worked – as a police state will work in the ways a police state does. Great, yay, woot.

    But, here’s the other part : those cops did not regularly go into upscale clubs, art galleries, and the gathering places of the wealthy and powerful to do random checks for drugs and weapons.

    The police did not go to those events, disarm the guards there, leaving the rich and powerful defenseless, and then, MUCH later, return the firearms to those bodyguards.

    It is only the unwashed masses, those with little power, that are effected.

    Now, do not mistake me on my thoughts – I am not “against the rich and powerful” – personally I’d like to be both. But I AM against unequal application of the law and against a very dangerous precedent.


  3. Comrade X says:

    Either we live by the Constitution or we do not:

    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

    What part of “shall not be violated” does the despot Bloomberg not understand?

    “A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves” Edward R. Murrow

    Death before slavery!

  4. Del-Ray says:

    I’m more concerned it was found unconstitutional because to many minorities got caught.

    Not because it violated our right against unreasonable search a seizure.

    It’s good to know that after a certain time of day/night we lose that particular right…

    • Jake says:


      It was the right decision, but not the correct reason.

      The reason given by the court is not wrong in and of itself, but the correct reason is that “stop and frisk” does not require either a warrant or probable cause – the two things specifically required by the Constitution for a government agent to search someone.

      There was no need for any analysis of the demographics of the people searched, because the demographics are irrelevent.

  5. Survival Skvez says:

    So will they extend this policy to the TSA and allow me to carry my (metal) nail file on flights out of New York from now on?
    Or only if the flight has a majority of (ethnic) minority passengers?

  6. louielouie says:

    Either we live by the Constitution or we do not:

    i’ve never viewed the constitution as a suicide pact.
    now we can’t punish black kids in school because so many were getting in trouble.
    so we deal out punishment by quota.
    so we don’t call punishment a punishment.
    so we don’t call crime a crime.
    because of quota.
    so next it will be quotas for prison population.

  7. roger u says:

    “no one should be subject to be stopped and frisked without justification”

    What would be justification?