U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin has made a landmark ruling against a practice that targeted young black men in New York. In her ruling, she writes, “No person may be stopped because he matches a vague or generalized description — such as male black 18 to 24 — without further detail.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg was outraged. “There is just no question that stop-question-frisk has saved countless lives. And we know that most of the lives saved, based on the statistics, have been black and Hispanic young men,” he told reporters outside City Hall.
“To be very clear, I am not ordering an end to the practice of stop-and-frisk,” Scheindlin wrote.
“The policy encourages the targeting of young black and Hispanic men based on their prevalence in local crime complaints. This is a form of racial profiling.”
Her ruling is largely based on the fact that between 2004 and 2012, there 4.4 million stops and over 2 million people frisked. “In 98.5% of the 2.3 million frisks, no weapon was found …”It’s like burning down a house to rid it of mice.”
Peter Zimroth, former city corporation counsel, will oversee the reforms. The reforms will include instituting a one-year program that will outfit officers in one precinct with cameras, “ensuring the people are not seized and searched by police on the streets of New York City without a legal basis. It is an important interest meriting judicial protection” and to one, “alleviate some of the mistrust that has developed between the police and the black and Hispanic communities,” and secondly, the footage “will be helpful to members of the NYPD who are wrongly accused of inappropriate behavior.”