Is New York’s ‘Stop and Frisk’ a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights?
In case you are wondering, New York’s”Stop and Frisk’ policy is shorthand for a strategy that police officers use to reduce crime in an area by stopping and searching people they consider suspicious. In New York City, the approach led to close to 700,000 stops in 2011 alone. But in 2012, the number of street stops in New York from January through March 2012 rose to 203,500 from 183,326 during the same quarter of 2011.
In May 2012, a federal judge said that the city’s own records showed that many of the stops did not meet the constitutional standards for searches. The law does not permit a search of pockets based simply on a police officer’s hunch or performance quota; an officer may pat someone down if there is reason to believe that a person is carrying an illegal weapon. To conduct a search of the pockets, or to order someone to empty their pockets, requires yet a higher standard involving probable cause that a weapon is present. The judge found that officers often relied on vague grounds such as “furtive” movements.
A majority of black New Yorkers say stop-and-frisk police tactics lead to the harassment of innocent people, while most white city residents view the practice as an acceptable way to improve urban safety, according to a new poll by The New York Times.
Opinions about stop-and-frisk are divided by race. Fifty-five percent of whites described the use of the tactic as acceptable; 56 percent of blacks called it excessive. Among Hispanics, 48 percent said it was acceptable, and 44 percent said it was excessive.
The NYPD released new crime statistics earlier this week, and here’s what we’ve learned: blacks and Latinos are shot more frequently than any other ethnic groups, blacks and Latinos shoot people at higher rates than any other ethnic group, and black people rarely get robbed.
According to a new report posted on the NYPD website, 96 percent of all shooting victims in New York City are black or Latino. Additionally, in 97 percent of all shootings in the Big Apple, the shooter is either black or Latino.
(Though I wonder how many of these shootings were officer involved)
The report also finds that in 70 percent of all robbery cases, the suspect is described as black. In only 33 percent of robbery cases, the victim is black.
The report likely is an effort by NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly to support the department’s controversial “Stop and Frisk” policy, which critics say discriminates against minorities.
In other words, if Kelly can show that minorities commit more crime, he can justify the disproportionate number of minorities who are stopped and frisked.
“Stop and Frisk” has garnered new support during what’s been described as “the summer of the gun” — as you may have noticed, a lot of people have been victims of gun violence this summer, including several children.
In one of the more heartbreaking cases, 4-year-old Lloyd Morgan was fatally shot in the head by a stray bullet while watching a charity basketball tournament at the Forest Houses project in Morrisania.
Authorities say at least 13 rounds were fired from either side of the basketball court and adjacent playground during the brief shootout. One of the rounds hit Morgan in the head as he stood with his mother near the playground.
The suspect in the shooting, 17-year-old Rondell “Spyder” Pinkerton, admitted to police that he fired shots at the time of the shooting.
The shooting led to some unlikely new supporters of the “Stop and Frisk” policy.
“I know it’s not too politically correct, but I am saying that I am fully, fully, totally supporting stop-and-frisk,” State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. said following the shooting.
Bronx Assemblyman Eric Stevenson also changed his tune about the controversial policy.
“After [Morgan’s shooting], I’ve changed my mind,” Stevenson said following the deadly shootout. “I know that we should look at the stop-and-frisk, but in a reformed way, with new criteria.”
Mr. Messing, the civil rights lawyer, said the problem was that as the number of stops escalated, the number of complaints he received grew even faster. “We were seeing huge numbers of stops being made without legal cause,” he said, adding that very few arrests were made and that guns were seized in about only 1 in 1,000 stops.
The Fourth Amendment states,
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Does the statistical numbers of guns seized via the “Stop and Frisk’ policy warrants the harassment ?
I say, only if they look suspicious…But race and religion shouldn’t be a factor…