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Judge: Stop-and-Frisk is Unconstitutional

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The long-awaited ruling on the controversial stop-and-frisk policies of the New York Police Department has arrived, and it does not look good for Bloomberg: the New York Times reported this morning that U.S. District court judge Shira A. Scheindlin has ruled that the notorious policy of systematically stopping people in the street without reason to search them for contraband “demonstrates widespread disregard for the 4th Amendment and violates the 14th Amendment.”

An outside lawyer, Peter L. Zimroth of the law offices of Arnold & Porter, has been assigned by the courts to make sure the ruling is followed and to monitor the NYPD for further violations. The ruling arrives in the wake of a nonjury trial to settle the issue of the police’s stop-and-frisk procedures.

Anecdotal testimony was heard from several biracial or black men and a woman who told a story about her stop, and the judge also listened to statistical testimonies from experts on the millions of stop-and-frisk incidents that have happened since the policy became standard operating procedure in 2004. Police commanders and officers who conducted such searches were also heard arguing that the officers only stopped people when they had a reasonable suspicion of criminality.

When the judge was still in the midst of forming her opinion, the New York Times noted that she was already showing skepticism about the policy’s effectiveness.

The ruling is sure to draw controversy, with the judge’s opinion clearly reflecting her belief that the New York police were out of line, and often suspected innocent people for unsuspicious behavior.

Twitter is beside itself with joy:

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Judge: Stop-and-Frisk is Unconstitutional
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  • Hmmm…..

    If anyone thinks the US is not becoming a police state, the past ten year ought to tell you differently. The way the police act in front of the public when all eyes are on them and the way they act when no one is watching is two totally different things.

    The United States already has the highest incarceration rates in the history of mankind. The sad part is that there are many innocent people who are sent to prison because they don’t have the money to put on a proper defense and there are a lot of guilty people who go free.

    Nonetheless, I assure you — the last thing you want is more police. Anyone can be arrested for anything in this nation nowadays.

  • By the way….

    Isn’t Bloomberg the one who wanted to ban the Big Gulp and Fireworks? People wonder how dictators come about and how come we always miss the warning signs of crazy people in political office … well these are some pretty good signs.

    1. A politician who is concerned about the Big Gulp …. of all the problems in the world. The Big Gulp is one of them apparently.

    2. Banning fireworks because terrorists might use the black powder. Please that is just ludicrous. Look at all the high value targets that aren’t even guarded in the US. If there were really a tremendous terrorist presence, we would be having attacks every day of the week.

    3. Random pat searches. Whenever a cop feels like it. What is next — random house searches? Then what? Not so random house searches?

    This ladies and gentlemen are rapid signs of a decaying and falling nation. Don’t look at me 20 years from now and ask they question — how did this happen.

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