Federal Judge Rules NYC's 'Stop-and-Frisk' Policy Unconstitutional

U.S. district judge Shira Sheindlin said the policy violates the U.S. Constitution and functions as police-sanctioned racial profiling.

BY Sunnivie Brydum

August 12 2013 7:04 PM ET

A federal judge concluded that the New York Police Department's "stop-and-frisk" tactics violated the constitutional rights of minorities to be free from unreasonable search and seizure on Monday, reports The New York Times.

U.S. District Court judge Shira Sheindlin ruled that the policy, as implemented by NYPD officers over the past decade, functioned as "indirect racial profiling," noting that a vast majority of those stopped were young men of color.  

The scathing decision was laid out in 195 pages, in which Scheindlin concluded that police regularly stopped and searched innocent people without any evidence to suspect that they had behaved illegally. That violates the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizure, as well as the Fourteenth Amendment's promise of equal protection under the law. 

While the greatest volume of New Yorkers stopped and frisked were young men of color, LGBT groups in the city and around the nation have spoken out in opposition to the policy, noting that it disproportionately targets LGBT people, especially those who are of color or gender-nonconforming. 

"'Stop and Frisk' is an unjustified police tactic and unconscionable form of racial profiling,” Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said in a statement. "A federal court has now ruled it to be an unconstitutional violation of the rights of innocent, law-abiding New Yorkers. We call upon the New York Police Department to immediately stop this unjust, unfair, and unconstitutional practice. We believe that the fight for LGBT equality is inextricably tied to the battle to end racism, and we encourage supporters of LGBT rights to work toward racial and economic justice for all."

Read more about the decision, which New York mayor Michael Bloomberg promised to appeal, here.

Tags: Politics

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