A federal judge has ruled unconstitutional the controversial “stop-and-frisk” policies utilized by the New York Police Department, calling for a federal monitor to oversee reforms to the policy of police officers stopping and frisking people they simply suspect have committed a wrongdoing.
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly have both defended the policy as a necessary tool in combating crime in the Big Apple, but the judge ruled that it violates the constitutional rights of New Yorkers.
The judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, ruled in a 195-page decision that the policy violates the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable search and seizures, as well as the 14th Amendment which protects and reinforces the “due process” guarantees of American citizens.
The stop-and-frisk policy has been controversial for its disproportionate use against young minority men, who were searched for weapons or drug possession often on suspicion alone. According to The New York Times, Judge Scheindlin heard testimony from roughly a dozen black or biracial men and a woman who have all been stopped under the policy. Police officers testified as well, usually defending the policy as being used only in situations where criminality was reasonably suspected.
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