Stop & Frisk Unconstitutional, Monitor Appointed to Supervise NYPD

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Shira Scheindlin

 Shira Scheindlin (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

 

One out of every eight people in New York City is walking around with guns or drugs. That’s too few for one liberal federal judge who is concerned that 88% who are stopped and have their pockets checked for cause are let go by police.

A liberal federal judge who released the killer of two police officers and a security guard, Shira Scheindlin, has ruled in the Floyd v. City of New York case, that Bloomberg’s Stop & Frisk violates the rights of New Yorkers. She also called for a monitor, attorney Peter Zimroth, to oversee broad reforms. She did not call an end to Stop & Frisk, however.

The New York police have been stopping people, particularly young minority men and checking their pockets for weapons and drugs before letting them go, the overwhelming majority of which were innocent according to the class action lawsuit.

The Muslim and black communities in particular have been opposed to Stop & Frisk.

Scheindlin said it violates the 4th and 14th Amendments. If the police have been violating peoples’ constitutional rights, that needs to be addressed but appointing a monitor could be one step too far. The Supreme Court of the United States found Stop & Frisk constitutional.

I sense countless lawsuits coming New York’s way.

The problem with this decision is that the judicial system will micromanage the police department. With a new more liberal Mayor coming in, that could damage the police department’s tactics, many of which have been laudable but unpopular.

There were 4.43 million stops between 2004 and mid-2012. Police defended the stops, saying they only stopped people when they saw suspected criminality.

Scheindlin said police were too quick to stop people, many were perfectly innocent with 88% of the stops resulting in the person being let go without an arrest or a ticket.

Zimroth, the court-appointed monitor, is a top New York counsel and he is liberal. He represented a Muslim community whose Mosque was being blocked, represented AIG and other large corporations, served as White House counsel in Whitewater, has defended women’s rights, and serves on the Boards of two schools for the handicapped.

Scheindlin cases included:

In the 2002 United States v. Osama Awadallah caseafter Awadallah testified before a grand jury  that he had met with two of the 9/11 hijackers, but could not remember their names, Scheindlin dismissed a perjury charge against him and found that Awadallah’s prolonged detention without actual criminal charges was based on misrepresentations and omissions by the government and could not be justified under existing law. Her decision was later reversed on appeal.

In September 2006 Scheindlin ruled that Judith Clark, a Weather Underground radical serving 75 years to life for the murder of a Brinks guard and two police officers during a robbery, was entitled to a new trial because her Sixth Amendment right to counsel was violated. There is no question that she murdered the three men.

She has made other controversial rulings.

New York Times has more information.

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