NYC’s Stop and Frisk Policy Unconstitutional. Obvee.

by Mark Wilson

NYT: “Stop-and-Frisk Practice Violated Rights, Judge Rules.” New York City’s stop and frisk policy was racist and unconstitutional. Judge Scheindlin did the right thing. I like this zinger:

Blacks and Hispanics were stopped about 88 percent of the time, a disparity that the Police Department has sought to explain by saying that it mirrored the disproportionate percentage of crimes committed by young minority men. In severe language, Judge Scheindlin dismissed the Police Department’s rationale.

“This might be a valid comparison if the people stopped were criminals,” Judge Scheindlin wrote, explaining that there was significant evidence that the people being stopped were not criminals. “To the contrary, nearly 90 percent of the people stopped are released without the officer finding any basis for a summons or arrest.”

The purpose of the Terry stop is to confirm or deny an officer’s reasonable suspicion that a person is about to be, or has recently been, involved in criminality. The purpose of the Terry frisk is for officer safety only when the officer has reason to believe the person he’s stopping for brief questioning is armed and dangerous. But if you give a mouse a cookie, then he’s going to want some milk … and pretty soon, a Terry stop becomes carte blanche for dragnet investigations.