Stop-and-Frisk Ruled Unconstitutional by Federal Judge

August 12, 2013 | Andy Cush

In a landmark legal ruling, Manhattan federal judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practice violated New Yorkers’ constitutional rights. Scheindlin, who according to the New York Times stated “that police officers have for years been systematically stopping innocent people in the street without any objective reason to suspect them of wrongdoing,” plans to designate the lawyer Peter L. Zimroth to monitor the department and ensure it brings itself within the bounds of constitutionality.

That stop-and-frisk was unconstitutional was obvious to the casual observer: in 2012, 87% of people stopped were black or latino, 90% of which were innocent (not ticketed or arrested), and the vast majority of arrests were for cannabis possession (the program is officially designated to find guns). Still, this is enormously important: a federally-issued statement against the Bloomberg-era NYPD’s wildly aggressive policies, and in defense of their (mostly minority) victims.