Stop, Frisk, Repeat

By Sullum, Jacob | Reason, May 2014 | Go to article overview

Stop, Frisk, Repeat


Sullum, Jacob, Reason


IN JANUARY, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city had reached a settlement agreement with the lawyers who challenged the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk program in federal court. The agreement leaves in place U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin's August 2013 ruling that the program was unconstitutional, and it preserves the reforms she ordered, including a federal monitor and experimental use of body cameras to record police encounters.

Those changes had been blocked by an appeal that De Blasio promised to drop if elected mayor. "We're here today to turn the page on one of the most divisive problems in our city," De Blasio said at a January press conference. "We believe in ending the overuse of stop-and-frisk that has unfairly targeted young African-American and Latino men."

Under the settlement, the NYPD will continue to stop and frisk people, which the Supreme Court has said is permitted under the Fourth Amendment when police reasonably suspect someone is involved in criminal activity and (for the pat-down) that he is armed. Statistics at the center of the case Scheindlin heard indicate that street stops by New York cops, which overwhelmingly targeted young black and Hispanic men, frequently failed this test. …

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