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The Call Blog: Judge Rules Stop, Question And Frisk Is "Racially Discriminatory"

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For the third time in three weeks, one of Mayor Bloomberg's policies has been flatly rejected. A panel of judges denied his sugary drink ban, student standardized test scores flunked his education agenda, and a federal judge found street stops discriminated based on race. Of course, according to Bloomberg, all these dissenting voices simply don't know what they are talking about.



A federal judge ruled today that police have "willfully ignored overwhelming proof" that Stop, Question and Frisk is "racially discriminatory." In her long-awaited decision, District Judge Shira Scheindlin found Mayor Bloomberg and his administrators "have turned a blind eye to the evidence" that the "stopped population is overwhelmingly innocent - not criminal."

Judge Scheindlin determined at least 200,000 stops were made without reasonable suspicion, rank-and-file officers were pressured by their superiors to make stops, and police brass ignored evidence that bad stops were being made. The judge noted she was not putting an end to the practice, but is appointing an independent monitor to oversee major changes, including body cameras on some officers.

A defiant Mayor Bloomberg today vowed to appeal, saying the decision would "make our city and the whole country a more dangerous place." Bloomberg said the judge "does not understand how policing works." What do you say?

What's your reaction to the judge's decision? Do you welcome an independent monitor to make changes to Stop, Question and Frisk? Will this ruling make New York City unsafe? Will body cameras on some police officers change the behavior of officers and New Yorkers?

Send your thoughts using the link above.



I am a 66 year old white woman. I am a former lawyer and a lot of people would probably say I look like it.

Five years ago, when I was about 61, I was taking an M15 bus downtown late one evening (after cleaning out my recently deceased mother's apartment on the Upper East Side). I was heavily burdened with a couple of shopping bags and distressed when the bus couldn't pull up to the curb at the stop at 53rd and 2nd because a black SUV was blocking the way. So the bus basically had to let me off in the street, with a narrow space between the bus and the SUV. As I exited the bus, I transferred all my bags, etc. to my right hand and used my left hand to negotiate getting out of the bus. As I hit the street I slammed my left hand on the SUV because I needed to to keep my balance.

As I walked down the sidewalk on the west side of Second Avenue I realized the SUV had started up and was apparently following me. I tried to ignore it. Then, all of a sudden, about a block later, a uniformed cop appeared in front of me. He demanded to know what I was doing and why I had "hit" his car (they were apparently 2 unformed cops sitting in an unmarked SUV). I was really scared, felt very threatened by the way he addressed me, and half expected to be arrested. I said I had "hit" his car because it was blocking a bus stop and I had to do that to negotiate my way out of the bus, onto the street and ultimately the sidewalk. At that point he backed off and said they were trying to monitor the bar scene in that area. I thanked him for his "service" and continued on my way.

I was enraged by this episode. There was no reason whatsoever for them to approach me in that way. If this is the way they approach 60-ish white women in Manhattan, one can only imagine how the approach young men of color in the outer boroughs.

I never had a very high opinion of the NYPD, and unfortunately this episode confirmed some of my worst suspicions.

I am thrilled for today's decision. I had to laugh when I heard the Mayor (or was it the Commissioner?) say the NYPD was the most diverse PD in the country. Clearly these guys don't get around much.

Ellie - Turtle Bay.



Bloomberg should appeal -- this is one decision from one liberal judge that is certain to be overturned by the appeals court or, if necessary, the Supreme Court of the United States. And his analysis is 100% correct.

Bruce
Upper West Side



I think it's the mayor who does not understand policing, and regrettably he and Kelly insist on forging ahead with the failed policy of stop and frisk which is not only unconstitutional but drives further divisions and mistrust between law enforcement and Latino/African-American communities.

Felix
Bay Ridge



Hi John

I believe a independent monitor should watch over the NYPD when it comes to stop question and frisk especially in minority neighborhoods and a camera should be placed on the cops some white cops like to harass minority people they're sneaky some cops hide out in subway rooms near the turnstiles to catch farebeaters yall better watch out on the lex line on 103 street

Herman
upper west side



I feel stop and frisk is a useful tool when reasonable suspicion is used and although it discriminates vs. minorities, its prophylactic in that it gets guns off the street. Additionally i like it as an anti-terrorist tactic; the son of Sam was caught from a parking ticket. And Im a civil libertarian.

JS
Kissena Park



Hi John,

This Bloomberg is so bold that he told the judge that she didn’t know how policing works. He: must rule the world. He has no class at all. She did suggest that someone will oversee this procedure and make corrections about it. Why did they not leave this for the next Mayor? This part of it I really I don’t understand. So now Bloomberg is going to sue. What he should be doing is try to clean up some of the mess he has made or just leave. We don’t need any law suites hanging over the next mayors head because of Bloomberg. The people running for office need to stop spending our money that we don’t have and just get on with the campaigning because they are also proposing matters that should have been taken care of way before this time.

Thank you John,
maxxiee
mp



CRISTINE QUINN THOMSON. THEY ARE AGAINST STOP AND FRISK I WILL NOT VOTE FOR THEM OR ANY OTHER THAT IS AGAINST STOP AND FRISK LIKE DIBLASIO.I LIKE SPITZER HE WAS A GREAT GOVINER I WILL VOTE FOR HIM AND NOT WEINER HE PUSHED HARD FOR OBAMA CARE IAM A SENIOR CITIZEN AND HAVE LOST PROVIDERS I AM A REGISTERED DEMOCRAT.

GENE



John,

So a federal court has discovered the 4th Amendment, which I have been arguing for over 2 years is the applicable law in stop, question and frisk.
It is Bloomberg who makes the City a more dangerous place by letting untrained cops, who are ignorant of the Constitution, parole the streets.

It is Bloomberg that doesn't understand how policing works and the fundamental meaning of individual rights.

Joe
Port Richmond, SI



Minorities are committing the crimes so we have to stop the minorities If young whites or Asians were committing violent crimes them they would be stopped buts prey it's blacks and Latinos committing the crimes That's why they get stopped

Jim
UES



Hello John

Good ruling based on the constitution, I do wish the unconstitutional stop and frisk was banned completely. It is not only about race but personal freedom and rights. Under the Bloomberg/Quinn administration, they threw out the people's vote on term limits. They place an rule that requires a permit to assemble undermining the 1st amendment. For those who are afraid and more concern with public safety, they can give away their freedoms but not mine.

"He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither" Benjamin Franklin.

Roxanne
Morris Park , Bronx



Judge is an idiot. Bloomberg is right in this case.

Norman
Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn



If white people were routinely stopped this would have ended years ago.

Rich
Midtown East



The court ruling in the stop & frisk lawsuit is a step in the right direction that acknowledges the program's fundamental unfairness to minorities but does not deal with the core issues of the stop & frisk program, which the Mayor and the NYPD continue to defend on the grounds that it is necessary to reduce crime and gun possession, and that it is working.

When it comes to public policy, "necessary and working" does not legitimize a governmental procedure when it is inconsistent with the rule of law. Beginning in the mid-sixties, the U.S. Supreme Court set standards for police searches that prevented police officers from simply reaching into the pockets of otherwise innocent people without reasonable suspicion or probable cause, and it established, under a "fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine," an exclusionary rule, under which illegally-seized evidence could be ruled inadmissable at trial, even if it meant that an otherwise guilty defendant might go free. While the case law has been tweaked a bit in later years to allow for so-called "Terry stops," searching someone for contraband, or telling them to empty their pockets after police have determined that the individual is not armed, is very likely unconstitutional, and doing so based on racial profiling is, or should be, a Federal Civil Rights violation.

The SCOTUS, in other cases about seemingly minimal incursions on fundamental rights, has warned us about the "slippery slope" and "chilling effect". That the stop & frisk program has had a chilling effect on the illegal possession of guns is a good thing, as carrying a gun is not, the fabled and often misunderstood Second Amendment notwithstanding, a Constitutional right. But the slippery slope in stop & frisk is that ordinary citizens, most of whom are not acting suspiciously, are being detained, interrupted in their lawful travels, subjected to custodial interrogation and invasive searches of their persons and personal effects, and otherwise persecuted solely because of where they are, how they're dressed, and, more often than not, because of their skin color. This results in a chilling effect that goes far beyond discouraging gun possession, as those who fear that they might be targeted by a stop & frisk may feel sufficiently intimidated to alter their plans, curtail their social activities, or simply stay home.

BIG ANDY
Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn



Now that a judge has ruled that Stop and Frisk needs to be amended,what will be next? There have been an unusual number of nonwhite people who have been stopped by the police-according to the statistics compiled, 89 percent of those people were innocent of any type of criminal wrongdoing. Many people have had their constitutional rights violated because of stop and frisk. Yet, the public must be protected against crime,so what other alternatives do law enforcement have available? There has to be a solution to this very serious issue, so that everyone-the public and the police are being treated fairly . People should not have their civil rights violated just because of their race and ethnicity.

John
Fresh Meadows, NY



Judge ruled that the city's policy," of Stop and Frisk," is racial discrimination. Well I believe like Mayor Bloomberg that to stop this policy will make us all unsafe. Now for that I say," It's time to sell the house and move."

Freddy
Glen Oaks Village



Stop and Frisk is an infringement to individuals liberties, something akin to dictatorial policies that sadly serve their Machiavellian purpose by getting the job done. Although it might be perceived as crime deterrent, it still poses great risks for innocent citizens. Police wearing cameras is a great idea.

Rafael
Bushwick



Stop and Frisk is a necessary deterrent to crime, especially in high crime areas. This liberal judge has no idea what really goes on in high crime areas and would never step one foot in a neighborhood like such. Spend a day in the life on the NYPD or a citizen in a high crime area and you will feel very differently.

Christine



I do agree with judge , to appeal is waste of time because in a short time we shall have a new mayor who probably will agree with judge.

Joseph from Sunnyside



The mayor and the Commissioner made the mistake of thinking stop and frisking Afro-Americans and Latino's would be approved by white middle class but they were wrong. I cared and I spoke out.

Allan



On behalf of all the fellow retirees i know-THANK GOD WE ARE NO LONGER ON THE JOB. THIS JOKE OF A JUDGE SHOULD CALL SHARPTON WHEN SHE NEEDS EMERGENCY HELP.

VITO
RET. LT. NYPD.



Congratulations to Judge Scheindlin! Finally a decision -- I believe that she definitely made the correct ruling. I have always believed that Stop & Frisk violated the Fourth Amendment. A police officer should have probable cause to stop & frisk a person such as probable cause is needed to search homes and vehicles. Under this current Stop & Frisk procedure, the officers are not adhering to the aspects of probable cause -- whether or not the officers admit to it or including any of the other individuals that I have heard praising Stop & Frisk . . . these searches are based on race! That is a civil rights violation. Mayor Bloomberg can rant and rave all he wants over this ruling and take it to the Court of Appeals but the fact remains that there is clear evidence of racial profiling. Both Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly should be held accountable because either they ignored the signs of racial profiling or they allowed or perhaps even encouraged these police officers to handle Stop & Frisk in this manner.

Stop & Frisk is not good policing -- it leads to an abuse of power that mirrors Mayor Bloomberg and his entire legacy.

Lisa
Upper east side



If Stop & Frisk was such a great program, many more than only 11% of its victims would be actual criminals!!! Great police programs don't have a 89% failure rate.

-Dan from Rego Park



With the implementation of an Inspector General, I only have one thing to say: Good riddance to the Bloomberg/Kelly regime!

Maria



What some politicians have taken to calling 'stop & frisk' used to be called 'good police work.' The problem is, NYC's Finest aren't good enough at it, judging from the percentage of 'frisks' that result in arrests. The best solution, rather than handcuffing the police or providing an avenue for yet more lawsuits against the City, is to make the officers more representative of the neighborhoods they police. I'd really like to see the 'stop and frisk' statistics broken down by the residency of each officer. I am myself a long island native who moved to the City 20 years ago. My view of the world changed radically in the first years after I moved. While the police union would REALLY squawk about a mandatory residency requirement for all officers - including existing ones - it is the best solution.

Calvin / Brooklyn Heights



NYPD is a racist city agency, as most are. The judge got it partially right because the policy disenfranchises and belittles New Yorkers who are racial/ethic minorities, the majority of whom are doing nothing wrong when they stopped. On the other hand we cannot erratically move away from one policing tool without having another policing tool readily available. Bloomberg is almost out.

Victor from Morrisiana



Listen I live im crownhieghts and never omce have I seen a jew stopped why mayor stated it only happens in the poor areas ok so explain

Tajuana



Stop and frisk has stopped crime, and saved people's lives. This is one very bold move made by the city to make New York a much better place to live in. That is all that matters.

Sakib



If your are a black man how would one feel if he is stop several times in one day .I don't see stop and frisk in white neighbourhoods. Or influential venues like Tribeca .

Joy
Manhattan



John,

Judge Scheindlin is correct. The crybabies calling in and writing to you forget that the judge issued two caveats: 1 An independent monitor will overseer the program for a year.

2 Cops in the S&F unit will be fitted with cameras to record any stops. Why are people having a problem with this? We are told if you have nothing to hide then you should understand the need for this program. If the police have nothing to hide then they should accept what the judge mandated.

Wayne
Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn



I do not care about the ruling because it will probably not affect me. I live in a middle-class neighborhood in Queens. Stop and frisks mainly occur in poorer, crime-ridden neighborhoods. If the fact that less people are stopped and frisked in those neighborhoods eventually leads to more crime in those neighborhoods than so be it. Be careful what you wish for.

Patricia



When our liberal Court system sides with the criminal, who will protect law-abiding citizens? Good luck to those living in crime-ridden housing projects and neighborhoods teetering on collapse.

Steve
Forest Hills



Judge Scheindlin's decision is a tour de force--carefully documented based on the evidence at trial and carefully reasoned based on established Constitutional policy. Critics should read the actual opinion.

Piper
Upper West Side



I agree with the judges ruling. I live on a block with two high schools two elementary schools around the corner. I've witness first hand police officers and detectives harass young men coming out of school in uniforms. All the kids were doing was talking on the corner. Safety Officers are on each corner. The police could be doing other things instead of harassing teens.

Miss Mae
Harlem



I agree with the decision. I do not agree with police wearing cameras because they will get around that. The camera was not working, the camera fell during the frisk as an example. Stop & frisk could work if done correctly. Eighty nine % resulting in no arrests is telling especially when innocent people are being pushed to ground & disrespected, I have seen it happen. The real culprits are not being stopped. If we from neighborhood see the criminals & know who the are why don't police. Maybe more community policing is one answer.

Dee
In manhattan



Douglas Ziegler was stopped and frisked in his DEPARTMENT issued vehicle.. He identified himself as a THREE STAR CHIEF of the NYPD.. they didn't believe him because he was BLACK. Google it.

Street Life



I'm happy with the decision the judge took on stop and frisk. I was a victim of stop and frisk and I was being harassed and forced my pants down in public just because I fit the description. Same thing they always say as an excuse. I was taken into the precinct back to a cell and threatened to talk by saying my head was going to be flushed down the toilet if I don't admit to something I wasn't guilty too. It was when one of the officers said that's enough he clearly doesn't have anything that they let me go. I called internal affairs the next day they told me I was going to get a visit by two detectives who had my case but no one ever came or called. I had to live paranoid of officers for a couple of months because if my embarrassing experience. I thought cops took an oath to serve and protect but I don't feel protected by our city cops!

Eddie from harlem



Bloomberg and Kelly misleadingly call it stop, question, and frisk. I'm. Curious to know how many people of color where questioned and not frisked.

Francis



people always keep spouting numbers and stats in support of stop and frisks but ignore the same numbers that show that the majority of stop and frisk yield little more than people who possess small bags of marijuana and or results in nothing more than a summons being issued.

Frank



My son does not look or fit the picture of a criminal since I moved to east Williamsburg and green point I have not seen under cover cops stop any white males. My son is Hispanic just started allowing him to go to the park with his bike to exercise and so far he has been stopped a total of 4 times and its been 4 or 5 under cover cops that keep stopping my son for no reason while he is going to the park. They take his Id and see he is only 16 then , now 17 but they still stop him. When my son asked them for their badge number they threaten to put him in jail. When my son started to cry they laughed and made fun of him then he ask if he can go home and the under cover cop told him either go to the park or go to jail.

So they are not profiling criminals just Hispanics and blacks. Like I said my son is not a criminal never been in trouble in any kind of way all he does is go to school and straight home.

Anonymous



As someone who works with young boys of color in schools, this stop and frisk program has created mistrust and anger toward the police in these young boys. It can create angry , anti-social behaviours that become self-fulfilling prophesies as they grow up feeling targeted and demeaned. The program does need to be streamlined and the human rights of young people of color need to be considered more seriously.

Nancy, Park Slope



White people are committing just as many crimes, if not more, as blacks and Latinos. The problem is they are not suspected of these crimes. If you want to keep neighborhoods safe focus on ALL the criminals and all types of crimes not just the black and Latinos.

I agree with the caller who points out that the Mayor's lauding of the decreased murder rates is completely misleading and does not accurately reflect the state of crime in NYC. The number of shootings has not decreased since the 80s. What has changed is the access shooting victims have to life-saving technology. Stop and frisk does not save lives.

Why don't they start stopping and frisking some investment bankers down on Wall Street for example? Their briefcases are full of cocaine.

Idris, Flatiron District



There is no respect for city residents from city workers when a federal judge has to be a mediator. The law that uses stereotypes against its citizens is not a law at all.

Juliette



Mayor Bloomberg is acting like a spoiled brat who can't get his way. He gets so angry when things don't go his way. Does he not hear the pain in the words of minority men who have suffered under Stop and Frisk? An independent monitor is needed. Is he looking at the same numbers that I am seeing regarding the benefits or lack thereof of Stop and frisk. I always say that I like Bloomberg but he's making it hard for me to maintain this affection. It appears all the people who think its a necessary tool are white and not susceptible to this racist act. If its such a great tool for our communities, and we are opposing it, then let us suffer the consequences. I can't believe you really care what happens in our neighborhoods.

Diahann from East Harlem



all I have to say is: IT'S ABOUT TIME!!! the facts and the numbers are clear, and how bloomberg and the police continue to deny and ignore them is beyond logic - it's irrational and racist. I was really moved by the plaintiffs' press conference. I can't imagine what it feels like to be constantly humiliated the way young men of color are in this city. my 85 year old mother said that the mothers of these young men must be scared every day that they walk out of the door - worrying that what happened to Ramarley Graham might happen to their child. so RIGHT ON!!!

Meryl from manhattan



I can not understand why the Police are being vilified when the true problem are the criminals committing violent crime. When the FBI went after the Mafia, they did it in areas where the criminals were, just like now with stop and frisk. People should control their children and educate them so they do not commit crime. They should protest themselves for not doing a better job at getting better grades at school. Stop blaming everyone but yourselves.

Thank you,
R



I feel that an independent monitor will not increase crime, but better monitor S &F. I heard that one caller said that it(stop and frisk)should be removed completely, that's ridiculous, growing up I have seen muggings, fights, and drug selling, in my neighborhood and police were not the ones doing it. They helped my family and came when someone robbed my home. Crime can travel to ANY neighborhood,doesn't play favorites, and comes in ALL colors and sizes.

Don from Washington Heights



Hi John,

Suspicion that leads to hundreds of thousands of stops and almost no arrests is far from "reasonable."

Supporters of this policy have a severe ignorance of constitutional law, moral principle, and actual history.

Jordan
Flushing



My name is adam

i am an immigrant and I came here for better life in this country but this stop and frisk really violating my rights and it reminds me of Egypt and how the government took so much advantage of stop and frisk.



Cops have a right to legitimately stop people who fit the profile of a perpetrator - even if it results in a disproportionate amount of minority men being stopped.

That is not what stop & frisk has become under Bloomberg's reign. Even if it supposedly saves lives, the practice of arbitrarily, stopping people en masse, and rudely going through their person without their consent, because they look a certain way.......is unconstitutional.

Sheldon
Crown Heights



What this ruling will do is prevent the police from doing their jobs of arresting those who commit crimes. God forbid there a fight gets out of hand by those who commit crimes get out of hand and the police are called and do nothing to stop the incident at hand, what are they going to say then? They're going to say that the police stood by and did nothing to quell the disturbance. And you know how the police will respond? They'll say that if they so as much make arrests, they'll be accused of stopping and frisking and will only make arrests if innocent bystanders or passersby are injured.

Cecilia,
East Williamsburg



Stop and Frisk is domestic terrorism. Bloomberg and Kelly are on the wrong side of history. They would have a different outlook if they or their relatives were repeatedly stopped, terrorized, and humiliated.

Jackie
Jackson Heights



Why doesn' the city seek more police officers that reflect the make up of the city? Can officers from Long Island or Upstate NY understand what it is to live and experience life in the city? Would it be wrong to say that they will have their own misconceptions, prejudices, and stereotypes, due to ignorance of the community they are suppose to protect and serve?

K
Harlem



Unless Mayor Bloomberg puts lead back into the city's paint and gasoline, or pursues the policies of "benign neglect" like his predecessors of the 1970's, then the reform of a free-wheeling Stop-and-Frisk program is not going to increase crime in New York City any more than it will in the rest of the nation. The vociferous defenses of Stop-and-Frisk by Bloomberg, Commissioner Kelley, the Republican mayoral candidates, and their supporters--who all strenuously insist that a program with a better than 90% failure rate is somehow deterring crime waves of epic proportions--remind me of the rantings of Bull Connor, the segregationist Commissioner of Public Safety of Birmingham, Alabama. He went to his grave believing there was nothing wrong with the racist policies enacted by his police. I wonder how many of these Stop-and-Frisk supporters are heading down that same sorry road.

Chris,
Lower East Side



My email is in response to David from the upper east side. Stop and frisk is also being misused when police officers stop suspicious persons in regards to a terrorist search. I have been stopped numerous times with no bags on me. When I questioned what the procedure was, the police officer states that they stop every 10-15 people. I waited and counted until the 15th person who ended up being a white woman with a huge bag. They did not stop her. Stop and frisk is implemented only when the police officer wants to use racial profiling. It's an issue that will never be resolved.

Jasber
Jamaica



If you do this to the NYPD. You are supporting crime. Bloomberg is a nut but on this he is right. The next thing you want Police to do is ask them to throw bullets,& take away there guns. The public will pay for that stupid decision.The Judge is not living where stop & frisk is needed. If you live in a bad neighborhood where a relative don't come home after buying milk in store, because they were caught in a shoot out you might understand ! The judge who did this needs to ride in a Police car for 6 months than lets see !

Pablo



The officers who complain about stop & frisk being reformed are just mad because they won’t be able to get overtime any more!! This practice generates ALOT of overtime- watch those numbers GO DOWN!!

Crystal-Bklyn



In Bloomberg/Kelly's NYC, career criminals like Whitey Bulger would never be stopped or frisked. It's a racist, dehumanizing policy that instills fear for law enforcement and does nothing to reduce crime.

David in Sunset Park



Stop and risk was a good tool that got abused and miss used by a bad cops.. Cops used stop & frisk as their tool to be disrespectful and to bully kids in selected communities

Bernie



This is asinine, historically Blacks have always been subjected to stop question and frisk since their release from slavery. Bloomberg and Kelly put it into overdrive, even when statistics proved that crime was decreasing everywhere and that the policy of stop and frisk was being abused, this is a form of control...period.

K
Harlem



I think Bloomberg is a good mayor. Stopping crime is good. Of those stopped (around 700,000) about 10% of those stopped were in violation of the law. So stopping suspicious characters is a deterrent. Without it, they the criminals whoever they are and whatever race they are, will be encouraged and New York will descend into the horror we suffered here back in the 1970s and early 1980s when New York was really dangerous.

Pamela-Joan
Manhattan, New York

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