NEW YORK: A United States federal district judge ruled earlier this week against the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) policy of stop-and-frisk against Caribbean immigrants, Blacks and other minorities.
In a ruling in Manhattan Federal District Court on Monday, Judge Shira Scheindlin said the policy was unconstitutional, appointing a monitor to reform the practice.
She said the city “adopted a policy of indirect racial profiling by targeting racially defined groups for stops based on local crime suspect data”, rejecting the NYPD’s claim that more stops occur in minority neighbourhoods because of alleged high-crime rates there.
“I also conclude that the city’s highest officials have turned a blind eye to the evidence that officers are conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner,” she wrote.
Justice Scheindlin said that she was “not ordering an end to the practice of stop-and-frisk” and said that the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that the tactic was constitutionally permissible under certain conditions.
“The purpose of the remedies addressed in this opinion is to ensure that the practice is carried out in a manner that protects the rights and liberties of all New Yorkers, while still providing much needed police protection.
“No one should live in fear of being stopped whenever he leaves his home to go about the activities of daily life,” she said.
Scheindlin said that Caribbean immigrants, African-Americans and other minorities were more likely to be subjected to the use of force than Whites, despite the fact that Whites are more likely to be found with weapons or contraband.
“Blacks are likely targeted for stops based on a lesser degree of objectively founded suspicion than Whites,” she said.
The ruling comes after a two-month, nonjury trial in Manhattan Federal District Court over the NYPD’s policy.