Outrageous Federal Court Decision on Stop-and-Frisk

October 31, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


On October 31, a federal appeals court put a stop to the changes in the New York Police Department's racist stop-and-frisk policy that were ordered by the August 12 decision in the class action lawsuit Floyd vs the City of New York, pending a resolution of the appeal.Without even a request from the city of New York, who is appealing the August 12 decision, the federal court removed the trial judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, from the case and criticized her in harshly personal terms. The Center for Constitutional Rights described the judge's removal as "troubling and unprecedented."

Under the official stop-and-frisk policy, the NYPD has been stopping and harassing hundreds of thousands of people a year for no reason other than that they are Black or Latino. The August 12 ruling found that the city of New York "adopted a policy of indirect racial profiling" and that the "city's highest officials have turned a blind eye to the evidence that officers are conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner." It found that "Blacks are likely targeted for stops based on a lesser degree of objectively founded suspicion than whites." The judge's ruling cited the "human toll of unconstitutional stops" and characterized each stop as "a demeaning and humiliating experience." All this vindicated what millions know to be true.

The August 12 ruling did not eliminate stop-and-frisk. The judge wrote, "To be very clear, I am not ordering an end to the practice of stop-and-frisk." What the ruling did was to designate an outside attorney to monitor the NYPD, along with mandating other policies like community meetings to solicit public input on how to reform stop-and-frisk. (For more on the ruling, see "Stop-and-Frisk Is Immoral and Illegitimate—Don't Mend It. End It!" by Carl Dix.)

The federal appeal court's October 31 ruling, including the unprecedented attack on and removal of the trial judge, is an unconscionable outrage.

Check back at this website for further coverage of these developments.

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.