August 12, 2013

U.S. judge says NYPD's stop-frisk policy violates rights

'The city's highest officials have turned a blind eye to the evidence that officers are conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner," writes U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin.

By Colleen Long / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

The city had no immediate response to the ruling, but officials planned an early afternoon news conference to discuss it.

City lawyers had argued the department does a good job policing itself with an internal affairs bureau, a civilian complaint board and quality assurance divisions.

The judge rejected their arguments. "The city and its highest officials believe that blacks and Hispanics should be stopped at the same rate as their proportion of the local criminal suspect population," she wrote. "But this reasoning is flawed because the stopped population is overwhelmingly innocent — not criminal."

Scheindlin appointed Peter L. Zimroth, the city's former lead attorney and previously a chief assistant district attorney, as the monitor. In both roles, Zimroth worked closely with the NYPD, the judge said. He did not respond to a call seeking comment.

The Center for Constitutional Rights, the nonprofit group that represented the plaintiffs, said in a statement: "Today is a victory for all New Yorkers. After more than 5 million stops conducted under the current administration, hundreds of thousands of them illegal and discriminatory, the NYPD has finally been held accountable. It is time for the city to stop denying the problem and work with the community to fix it."

 

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