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-   -   NYPD's 'stop-and-frisk' practice is unconstitutional, judge rules (

snopes 12 August 2013 06:16 PM

NYPD's 'stop-and-frisk' practice is unconstitutional, judge rules
A judge has ruled the New York Police Department's "stop-and-frisk" crime-fighting tactic unconstitutional, dealing a stinging rebuke to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had argued the practice drove down the city's crime rate.

crocoduck_hunter 13 August 2013 12:11 AM

It's about time.

erwins 13 August 2013 12:33 AM

When this was initially discussed here, IIRC, a bunch of people thought it was fine because "the TSA can do it." (Quoting is approximate.)

crocoduck_hunter 13 August 2013 02:09 AM

Oh, do they think that the police should be able to pick you up off the street and force you to walk through an X-Ray machine for no reason because the TSA can do it?

Avril 13 August 2013 03:11 AM

I would think (as usual; this shouldn't surprise anyone to have come from me) that if anything it's an argument against what the TSA does.

jimmy101_again 14 August 2013 12:13 AM

Am I reading the cite correctly... it is unconstitutional to use race in deciding who to frisk. Frisking without probable cause, and without regard to race, would be OK?

Indeed, the judge didn't say "stop doing random searches" (s)he appointed someone to make sure race wasn't the deciding factor in who gets searched?

erwins 14 August 2013 12:46 AM

Not random searches. Stop and frisk is constitutional under Terry v. Ohio as long as there is reasonable suspicion (which is less than probable cause, but is not random) for the stop and frisk. A "Terry stop" has to be brief and limited in scope compared to a full search/seizure, and the officer has to be able to articulate the reasonable suspicion for the stop. In practice, officers know things they can say to give that basis, so they can usually stop a lot more people than they actually do. So the question becomes, why did they actually want to stop the person? Based on what was happening in terms of numbers, it looks like the police were much more suspicious of black people.... So the judge is making them tighten up the criteria.

Singing in the Drizzle 14 August 2013 02:15 AM

Reminds me of days of night school when I was driving home at 2AM. Pulled over several times over the course of 2 years for stupid reasons (can't read license plate, you turned on the road to slowly, I did not like that lane change ...), but one I could not argue with at the time. Then sticking his face in mine trying sniff something while he checks my license and insurance. So I'm pretty sure a office could also find some excuse to search you as well with a reasonably suspicious (pun intended) reason that does not include race.

erwins 14 August 2013 02:38 AM

I don't think their articulated reasons were including race. It's more a matter of insidious racism, where the officers were more likely to think that a black person was acting suspiciously, or they were more likely to have a hunch to search a black person, which they thought they could then come up with a pretext for.* But the impact of that led to some eye-popping numbers concerning your chances of being stopped if you were a young black person in the city. When this was posted about before, the article mentioned that the number of stops of young black people exceeded the number that lived in the city from the same demographic. So chances were extremely high that you would be stopped just for being in that age range and race.

The ruling sounds like it's requiring the police to come up with some more objective criteria to try to make it rely less on individual officers' choices of whom to stop.

*Pretext searches are legal as long as there is a basis sufficient for the stop--like pulling someone over for a broken taillight because you want a chance to smell their breath.

Singing in the Drizzle 14 August 2013 07:26 PM


Originally Posted by erwins (Post 1760227)
*Pretext searches are legal as long as there is a basis sufficient for the stop--like pulling someone over for a broken taillight because you want a chance to smell their breath.

It is really annoying after being pulled over for a broken tail light to check your breath. Then to drive home a feet hundred feet up the road and spend several minutes figuring out all the lights on the car work just fine. BTW thanks for reminding me of that little incident.

Mickey Blue 17 August 2013 09:52 PM

As somebody who's seen far too many drunk driving casualties (others I mean, I could care less what happens to the drivers themselves) I'd support giving a breathalyzer to anybody they care to and to attempt to 'check' in every single stop, particularly after dark (when people are I presume more likely to have been drinking).

I'm not saying it jives with the constitution, just saying.

erwins 17 August 2013 11:01 PM

Sobriety checkpoints, where every vehicle, or every nth vehicle, are stopped and the drivers given a breath test are constitutional under the US constitution. They are used in many states where they don't violate the state constitution. (Some state constitutions, such as Oregon's, don't allow them.)

Mickey Blue 17 August 2013 11:05 PM

I was more talking about checking (even if it's just the 'sniff test' noted above by a few people who from their tone appeared to think it was bad) every person you stop 'just in case'.

I of course don't approve of profiling based on race (or gender, etc)

erwins 17 August 2013 11:11 PM

That's legal everywhere in the US as long as there was a valid reason for the stop--blinker violation, speeding, rolling stop, expired tags, whatever the reason.

Mickey Blue 17 August 2013 11:18 PM

I wasn't really arguing it's illegal, more saying I think it's a good thing (unless I misread SitD in post 8 they disagree).

Singing in the Drizzle 17 August 2013 11:22 PM

I do not have a problem with and officer pulling me over at 2 AM to do a quick "sniff test" if they were honest about the reason and then be done with it. It is the making up some bullshit story as to why they were stopping me that pissed me off.

Anyway to point was that officers are good at finding reasons why you are suspicious and need a closer check or just some harassment.

erwins 17 August 2013 11:27 PM

But unless there's a full checkpoint set up, they can't just pull you over for a quick sniff test. They have to have probable cause to pull you over for a traffic violation. It so happens that really nobody is a perfect driver, so an officer can almost always find a legal reason to pull a car over after following it for a short time.

Mickey Blue 17 August 2013 11:31 PM

To me there would only be two situations where it would be appropriate:

1) Something about the driver/driving is sending off signals* but nothing that is appropriate to pull them over for so they pull the car over for a valid, if arguably petty, reason to be sure.

2) You were pulling the car over anyways for a valid reason and you may as well check while you have them.

*I don't know about cops but I know in my field often your 'gut' for lack of a better word can be helpful. In addition I don't know all the traffic laws but I'm sure we've all seen drivers who are not explicitly breaking any traffic laws (again that I'm aware of) but at the same time are driving in a way that sends off red flags.



Originally Posted by Avril (Post 1759898)
I would think (as usual; this shouldn't surprise anyone to have come from me) that if anything it's an argument against what the TSA does.

I have no love for the TSA, and do think some things about the way they search people should change. However, it's worth noting that one obvious difference is that in many/most case flying is completely optional (even a luxury) where as in many/most cases driving is not. I'm defining 'optional' here as something you could choose not to do without a radical change to your life.

erwins 18 August 2013 12:21 AM

Just to be clear, the NYPD practice in the OP was about stopping pedestrians. There's definitely nothing optional about being able to walk around your neighborhood and the city you are in.

Singing in the Drizzle 18 August 2013 12:27 AM

Except TSA keeps expanding it reach. The have set up screening at sporting events, music festivals, rodeos, highway weigh stations and train terminals. Are personal vehicles going to be next.

ETA: TSA should have been a oversight organization like the FAA. Making sure security meets thier standards, but let airports and other public venues determine the best way to get the job done.

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