Update...NYPD's Stop and Frisk Federal Trial Resumes Monday March 18, 2013Submitted by AustinDave on Mon, 03/18/2013 - 00:07
Stop and Frisk is an NYPD policy where police officers are ordered by their superiors to conduct suspicion-less searches on pedestrians that dare walk down the street. At any time, if you are walking in any borough of New York City, you may be swarmed by militarized police officers and subjected to a forced search of your person and belongings. If you refuse you will be assaulted, kidnapped and imprisoned...either way you will be searched. The number of times this policy has been used in the last decade is estimated to be several million.
As legal opposition began to mount against the policy, officers were instructed to add comments to police reports such as "subject made a suspicious movement," in order to give the appearance of probable cause for the rights violation at trial. To make matters worse, officers use this policy to meet arrest quota policies instituted by NYPD brass, in direct opposition to New York State law. The city denies that they have quotas for officers to meet but there is video evidence online of officers being instructed to meet those quotas or be punished with an undesirable duty.
Monday's case is "Floyd v City of New York" and is being heard by UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK's Honorable Shira Scheindlin. Scheindlin is hearing three cases pertaining to the gestapo style policy, though this one may be most important as it questions the Constitutionality of the program at large.
Last year Scheindlin heard the case "Ligon v. City of New York," where she ruled in favor of the plaintiff and ordered NYPD to stop the suspicion-less searches as part of their Operation Clean Halls program. This program allows for landlords to file papers with the city giving NYPD authority to detain and search anyone on the property, and identify whether or not they reside at or were invited to the premises by a resident. This policy led to tens of thousands of arrests and "Tresspass" charges filed, thousands of the charges were ultimately dropped. Scheindlin recently stayed this ruling pending the city's appeal.
The Center for Constitutional Rights(CCR), one of the acting attorneys for the plaintiff, despite their name usually takes cases on a liberal agenda basis rather than a Constitutional one. Were it not for the large number of minority citizens affected by the program, they would likely sit this one out. Minority citizens accounted for 87% of stops while making up 53% of the population. In fact the relief that CCR is asking for in this civil trial amounts to oversight by a civilian panel and a reduction in the percentage of minorities targeted.
Celeste Koeleveld, Executive Assistant Corporation Counsel for Public Safety issued this statement about the case:
"All of the NYPD's policing practices -- including making arrests, conducting investigations, and detaining and questioning people who act suspiciously -- are directed at preventing crime and promoting public safety citywide.
Consistent with those goals, the Police Department focuses its efforts in areas where crime is highest. Minorities are overwhelmingly the victims of violent crime in New York City, and the neighborhoods in which they live demand and deserve the Police Department's attention. Precinct by precinct, the rates at which minorities are stopped are consistent with the rates at which minorities are identified as crime suspects. That statistic, not the census, is the appropriate benchmark for analyzing police enforcement activity.
Furthermore, police officers must be able to stop and question people who act suspiciously in order to do their jobs. The NYPD remains fully committed to doing so lawfully, and its robust training policies are a testament to that. We will vigorously defend the City at trial."
Statement from Celeste Koeleveld:
Article on Operation Clean Halls:
NYPD quotas vid:
Edit 3-18-13. Opening statements day:
Edit 3-24-13: Officers testify to quota and racial profiling as "We were handcuffing kids for no reason," Polanco said. Claiming he was increasingly disturbed by what he was witnessing in his precinct, Polcanco began secretly recording his roll call meetings.
In one recording played for the court, a man Polanco claimed was a NYPD captain told officers: "the summons is a money–generating machine for the city."