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article imageJudge rules NYPD violated rights, cites Trayvon Martin case

By Kirstin Stokes Smith     Aug 12, 2013 in Crime
New York - Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled the New York City Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy has been in violation of individuals’ constitutional rights Monday, Aug. 12.
The controversial policy has been widely criticized as racial profiling, despite Mayor Michael Bloomberg's and the police commissioner’s defense that it has been a life-saving, crime-fighting tool. The practice has been a key component of Bloomberg’s anti-crime policy.
Scheindlin made her ruling after a 10-week bench trial in the class-action lawsuit that included testimony from top NYPD officials as well as 11 men, and one woman who claimed they were stopped by police based on their race, reports CBS News. She ruled that nine of 19 police stops that were raised at the trial were unconstitutional. She also ruled wrongful frisking in five other stops.
Scheindlin found that the stop-and-frisk policy disregarded the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, as well as the Fourteenth Amendment, which contains in it The Equal Protection Clause. Rather than order an end to the practice, however, Scheindlin appointed Peter Zimroth as independent monitor to oversee changes to the stop-and-frisk policy. She also ruled that police in the precinct with the most stops and searches would be testing body-worn cameras, reports CBS News.
“To be very clear: I am not ordering an end to the practice of stop and frisk,” Scheindlin said in a separate statement. One of the remedies she outlined was “[ensuring] that the practice is carried out in a manner that protects the rights and liberties of all New Yorkers, while still providing much needed protection,” reports The Washington Times.
In her conclusion, Scheindlin quoted a New York Times column on Florida’s Trayvon Martin case saying the use of “universal suspicion without individual evidence” was similar to “burning down a house to rid it of mice,” reports The Washington Times.
Over the past decade there have been about five million police stops in New York — mainly of black and Hispanic men — under stop-and-frisk. Legal experts are speculating about the impact today’s ruling will have on other police departments across the U.S. They say it may have an effect on the way police across the U.S. conduct street stops, reports CBS news.
More about Human rights violations, Fourth amendment, fourteenth amendment, Racial profiling, Nypd
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