NEW YORK — The New York City Police Department’s controversial “stop and frisk” crime-fighting tactics violate the US Constitution, a federal judge ruled today.
US District Judge Shira Scheindlin said the city police adopted a policy of “indirect racial profiling” by targeting racially defined groups for stops.
The practice resulted in disproportionate, discriminatory stopping of blacks and Hispanics that the city’s highest officials “turned a blind eye” toward.
“No one should live in fear of being stopped whenever he leaves his home to go about the activities of daily life,” Scheindlin wrote in her opinion.
The class action was considered the broadest legal challenge to stop and frisk, a tactic in which city police stop people they suspect of unlawful activity and frisk those they suspect are carrying weapons.
Scheindlin’s decision follows an exhaustive nine-week trial that pitted the NYPD’s interest in keeping New York’s crime rate down against black and Latino plaintiffs who felt discriminated against. Scheindlin presided over the trial without a jury.
As part of her ruling, Scheindlin ordered the appointment of an independent monitor to oversee compliance with other remedies she ordered.
The NYPD did not immediately comment on the decision. (Reuters)