Federal Judge Finds NYC's Stop-And-Frisk Policy Unconstitutional

Monday, August 12, 2013

Anti-stop and frisk protesters outside Manhattan Court on April 30, 2012. Anti-stop and frisk protesters outside Manhattan Court on April 30, 2012. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Today Federal Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ruled that New York City's stop-and-frisk policy violates the constitutional rights of minorities.

Though the policy has been deemed an effective crime fighting strategy in the city of New York, the judge ruled that members of the NYPD have been systematically stopping people on no suspicion of a crime, demonstrating a disregard for the Fourth Amendment, which protects people from unreasonable search and seizure.

In addition to violating the Fourth Amendment, the judge's ruling also found that the stop-and-frisk policy violated the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause.

According to her ruling, Judge Scheindlin found that the city "adopted a policy of indirect racial profiling by targeting racially defined groups for stops based on local crime suspect data." She added that "the city’s highest officials have turned a blind eye to the evidence that officers are conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner."

Joining us to discuss the ruling is Kathleen Horan, reporter for WNYC Radio.

Check out the data map below, which is brought to The Takeaway courtesy of WNYC. Also see a timeline of the city's stop-and-frisk policy here.


Comments [4]


My daughter is bi-racial and she has been stopped, frisked, and treated very poorly by police. In fact, she has a term "DWB" Driving While Black. Law enforcement has reached a new low in ethical behavior. The police can be criminals and that is a sad problem.

Aug. 13 2013 02:22 PM

Once again the black community will be victimized by good intentions. As a retired NYC police officer I saw the dramatic difference from the 80's when everybody was packing and the homicide rate was over 2000 a year to the new century when many fewer guns were being carried on the street and the homicide rate was below 500. I can appreciate resenting everything about being stopped/frisked. But the sad reality is would you rather your child comes home complaining about the police or shot dead by someone the cops did not frisk. Also in my experience most people do not have a principled stand against stop & frisk - they just don't want you to stop/frisk their family/friends/self. They are usually chock full of suggestions as to who should be frisked/arrested.

Sharpton etal rally against stop & frisk, then get chauffeured home to their zero crime neighborhoods. If only the instigators had to live with the actual effect of their policies.

Aug. 13 2013 12:55 AM
John from Bklyn

Clearly unconstitutional and alienating.

Also, clearly life saving.

Oh, well.

Aug. 12 2013 03:18 PM
Jimy from Texas

Any time someone is stopped without having committed a crime, it is unconstitutional. Getting searched for no reason is despicable. As long as we allow this treatment, we deserve what we get.

Aug. 12 2013 12:27 PM

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