A federal judge has ruled that the New York City Police Department’s heavily-criticized “stop and frisk” approach to crimefighting is unconstitutional, the New York Times reported on Monday.
The ruling by Judge Shira A. Scheindlin is the latest blow to the policy, which data suggests has not been effective in actually preventing shootings in the city while being decried for targeting Black and Latino men almost exclusively.
In her decision, Scheindlin determined that the policy violated both the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment and appointed an outside counsel, attorney Peter L. Zimroth, to monitor the department and make sure it moves further into compliance in the future.
Despite being protested by thousands of community members and called into question by the Department of Justice, Commissioner Ray Kelly defended the policy, calling it “a fact of urban life” in an August 2012 interview with a radio program geared toward teenagers.
Update, 12:29 p.m. EST: The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) praised Scheindlin’s decision in a statement on Monday, calling it a major victory for New York residents, and expressing its support for the appointment of the federal monitor.
“Today’s decision ordering changes not only to the general stop and frisk program, but also to the separate program of trespass stops at private residential buildings shows that every aspect of stop and frisk must be reformed,” associate legal director Christopher Dunn said in the statement. “This marks the beginning of a top-to-bottom revamping of stop and frisk.”
[Image via Agence France-Presse]