NEW YORK, NY, September 03, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Imagine a man walking down a New York City street. It is in a poorer area of the city, so chances are he too is poor and likely a minority. Police officers, who have been told the area has recently seen a spike in crime, stop the man to check for weapons and drugs, despite the fact he is not behaving suspiciously and there is no evidence he committed a crime. On his body they find a small amount of marijuana
and subsequently arrest him
Fortunately, because of a recent ruling in federal court, the law now holds such "stop and frisk" racial profiling unconstitutional. Federal District Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that the "stop and frisk" the NYPD conducted in recent years violated U.S. citizens' rights and that this method of fighting crime amounted to an unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
The Editorial Board of The Washington Post said the policy in New York City resulted in "the largest racial profiling operation in the United States." However, the judge did not ban New York City police from using the "stop and frisk" method, but rather found that police used the method in an unconstitutional way. For example, from 2003 to 2008, East Harlem, Brooklyn's East New York and Jamaica, Queens had the highest rate of stops in the city - all of which have high minority populations.
The judge appointed a federal monitor to oversee the NYPD to ensure such racial profiling will not occur. The NYPD will also likely involve more training and supervision of officers. In the meanwhile, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has vowed to appeal the ruling.
Federal law and intervention
The law that grew into New York City's stop and frisk policy resulted from a seminal 1968 Supreme Court decision, Terry v. Ohio. In that decision, the Court ruled that officers could detain Americans based on a "reasonable suspicion" that they might have recently committed a crime or are about to. Before that case, police must have had probable cause to stop a citizen, which was a higher burden to prove in court.
This is not the first time that federal authorities have attempted to reform police behavior. Oakland's notorious police force is now overseen by federal authorities, but delays there are "becoming an art form," Frank Zimring, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley law school told Time magazine. In contrast, Los Angeles, which has implemented reform at the request of the federal government, has seen an increase in efficiency and a growth in respecting civil liberties, Zimring added.New York City criminal defense attorney can help
Evidence that is obtained in violation of the U.S. constitution cannot be shown as evidence in court, making search and seizure actions vital to both prosecutors and defendants. New Yorkers who have been arrested without cause or need to fight criminal charges should contact a experienced criminal defense attorney
to discuss their rights and options.