Read what we found

Yesterday U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin granted class-action status to a lawsuit condemning the NYPD’s stop and frisk practices.

Her decision comes in a 2008 suit filed by four men claiming their fourth amendment constitutional rights were compromised by the NYPD, and allows thousands more plaintiffs to take part in the legal challenge.

The city denies the case is worthy of a class action, claiming the four plaintiffs “fail to identify an official policy, or its equivalent.”

In today’s Daily Q we ask: Is “stop and frisk” based on an official policy? 

If you have information or insight to share, write us, tweet @thenyworld or comment below.

What we found
In his letter to speaker Quinn last week Police Commissioner Ray Kelly only referred to Stop and Frisk as procedures and encounters, indicating he’s being careful with how he acknowledges it. Previously he, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have both referred to Stop and Frisk as a crime fighting tool and a police practice.

But Judge Shira Scheindlin in her Federal Court decision profiled why she specifically thinks Stop and Frisk is a program.

She said that evidence suggests Stop and Frisk is a centralized and hierarchical program that has been designed and implemented from the highest level of authority within the NYPD.

These are her reasons:
1) The quantity of stops. According to the decision, NYPD made 2.8 million stops 2003 and 2009
2) The practice of stopping and frisking has been designed, implemented and monitored by high ranking police.
3) There is a form that is filled out every time a person is stopped and frisked called the UF-250, indicating it’s a formalized procedure. Details from this form are entered into a centralized database and statistics are cited at CompStat meetings.
4) Training programs exist expressly for stop and frisk procedures.

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1 Comment

  1. Stop – Question-Frisk is a state law. It is found in the Criminal Procedure law of New York State. The law permits any Police Offcier, within his geographical area of employment, to stop and individual and question him if the offcier (Here is the important part) reasonably believes, that person is committing, or about to commit, or has committed a Misd in the penal law or any Felony . The term “reasonably believes” is a legal term, controlled by case law. A police officer may be acting on mere suspicion in which case he cannot trigger / use stop-question-frisk. Conversley a Police Offcier may be acting on probable cause in which case he can simply arrest a person. What appears to be happening in New York City is that Police Officers are conducting stop-question and frisk without having reasonable suspicion. It is the reason police stop so many individuals. If you abide by the stringent reasonable suspcion requirement of the law, a police agency could not reach such a high numbers of stop in New York. New York case law identifies reasonable suspcion as facts and circumstances which lead a reasonable and prudent person to believe criminal activity may be occuring. Reasonable and Prudent person are also legal terms which require a high level of proof. In addituion, New York Courts have held that hunches, gut feelings, race alone, dirty cars, poor driving, to name a few does not give a police officer reasonable suspicion and permit a stop. What is the problem with police stopping individuals without having reasonable suspcion ? Simple, Like anyone else that acts a against a statute, the polcie are violating the law.

    Victorio Roman
    NYPD Lieutenant,Retired