Lawmakers, Activists & Others React To Stop-And-Frisk Ruling
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Reaction is pouring in to a judge’s ruling Monday that found the NYPD deliberately violated the civil rights of tens of thousands of New Yorkers with its stop-and-frisk policy.
U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin said she was not putting an end to the practice, but rather was reforming it and named an independent monitor who would develop an initial set of reforms to the policies, training, supervision, monitoring and discipline.
Lawmakers, activists and others have been weighing in on the decision:
Rev. Al Sharpton
“The New York Judge’s decision on stop-and-frisk is a huge victory for those of us that have marched and fought against it for years saying is a violation of our constitutional and civil rights. The Bloomberg Administration should immediately cease and desist the stop-and-frisk policy.”
Sen. Adriano Espaillat
“Today’s federal court ruling validates the basic truth that members of the African-American and Latino community have long known: that stop-and-frisk policing tactics have violated the rights of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, and aggressively targeted young people who have done nothing wrong.
“This practice has not made our communities safer, and it has instilled bitter resentment in the victims of this policy. It has repeatedly strained relationships between law enforcement and minority communities, and has impeded the cooperation that is critical for ensuring our neighborhoods’ safety.
“The appointment of a federal monitor to oversee necessary changes is a welcome next step for our city, but it is little comfort to the young people that have already felt the shame of being stopped and frisked in public and made to feel like criminals. Federal oversight will help restore basic freedoms to my constituents in Upper Manhattan, the Bronx, and throughout the city. But our city and state government must take ownership of this civil liberties abuse, and enact legislative changes without relying on Washington.”
State Sen. Martin J. Golden
“Stop, question, and frisk is an effective program which has saved the lives of thousands of New Yorkers and keeps our streets safe. We have a chain of command in the NYPD, and a system in place to investigate the actions taken by police officers if they violate the law. Having the Justice Department install a monitor to look over our Finest will do nothing to increase public safety and only act as a deterrent on our police officers to effectively do their jobs.”
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn
“Today’s court ruling affirms what we have known for some time, too many young men of color are being stopped in the streets of New York in an unconstitutional manner and that must stop.
“At the height of this program, some 700,000 New Yorkers have been stopped with the overwhelming number resulting in no arrest or seizing of contraband, that’s why the City needs —and I passed —and Inspector General for the NYPD. The NYPD Inspector General will help review and provide guidance to ensure that stop and frisk is done in a constitutionally sound manner that focuses on the quality of the stops, not the quantity.
“And as mayor, I intend to work with the federal monitor to help ensure these stops come down dramatically so that we can build stronger relationships between our communities of color and our police force. ”
City Comptroller John Liu
“Today’s ruling by Judge Scheindlin declaring that police have overstepped their authority highlights the enormous flaws in the NYPD’s ‘stop and frisk’ tactic, which has served to undermine trust between communities and law enforcement. The judge’s call for reforms must be heeded, and – longer term – the tactic should be abolished. It’s time to put an end to stop and frisk once and for all.”
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer
“U.S. Judge Shira Scheindlin’s ruling this morning on the New York Police Department’s Stop and Frisk program confirmed what many New Yorkers already know: the practice as applied by the NYPD is unconstitutional.
It is time to end the racial profiling of innocent people in our City that has tragically built a wall between our police department and communities of color. The judge’s appointment of an independent monitor of Stop and Frisk policies and practices is an important step and I urge Mayor Bloomberg to cooperate fully with the spirit and the letter of her decision, including the immediate reforms directed by the ruling.”
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio
“The courts have just affirmed facts that too many New Yorkers know to be true: under the Bloomberg Administration, with the acquiescence of Speaker Quinn, millions of innocent New Yorkers — overwhelmingly young men of color — have been illegally stopped. The overuse and misuse of stop-and-frisk hasn’t made New York a safer city, it has only served to drive police and community further apart. The only way to end the abuse of stop-and-frisk in New York City is with real reform, and I am the only candidate committed to enacting the changes we urgently need. We must override Mayor Bloomberg’s vetoes of legislation to ban racial profiling and to create an independent inspector general for the NYPD.”
“One misguided liberal judge is endangering the safety of all New Yorkers. Appeal, Appeal, Appeal!”
“This decision sadly confirms what was profoundly obvious. When the police stop tens of thousands of citizens who have done nothing wrong — the overwhelming number being young men of color — basic civil rights are being violated. The policy of using stop and frisk as a deterrent rather than a tool for the pursuit of actual criminals has to change. I would hope that the court considers withholding judgment on the need for a federal monitor until after a new mayor and police commissioner are in place in January.
“Last week, I laid out a plan for correcting the abuses of stop and frisk. We must include invalid stops in regular CompStat reports. We should outfit police officers with lapel cameras to record interactions. And we should adopt a policy of focused deterrence that works to target known criminals rather than whole communities.
“This is a teachable moment for our city. We must relearn the most basic of edicts of American life. We do not need to sacrifice our civil rights to live in a safe city. You can reduce crime while increasing respect.”
“I am disappointed by the U.S. District Court’s ruling on Stop and Frisk. Stop and Frisk is an example of proactive police work that stops crime and keeps guns off the streets; dropping crime rates have proven that. I am sure this decision will be appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, as it should be. Stop and Frisk has been used by law enforcement in New York State since 1964. In 1968 the United States Supreme Court (Terry vs. Ohio) upheld its legality by an 8-1 margin and I am sure the courts will uphold it once again.
“The New York City Police Department is the best in the world, their innovative crime fighting tactics are a model for law enforcement worldwide. Today’s decision should not be viewed as an indictment of their tactics. Their job is to keep New Yorkers safe and I firmly believe Stop and Frisk has done just that.”
“Our Constitution is a living document and I disagree with some of Judge Scheindlin’s conclusions regarding the use of Stop, Question and Frisk and the Fourth Amendment. I urge the mayor to appeal the decision to delay implementation of a federal monitor. The NYPD is one of the most closely scrutinized law enforcement agencies in the country with oversight from New York City’s five district attorneys, two U.S. attorneys, the New York State Attorney General and the City Council. The last thing we need is another layer of outside bureaucracy dictating our policing.
“Stop, Question and Frisk has been an invaluable tool keeping our city safe and saving lives. Our progress in reducing crime is fragile — this weekend the city had 17 shootings in a single day. Implementing a federal monitor will have a dramatic impact on proactive police work that we simply cannot allow to happen for the safety of all New Yorkers.”
“As I have said, the present stop-and-frisk policy violates the constitutional rights of all New Yorkers, but especially innocent blacks and Latinos. Instead of treating our police and people with respect, the Mayor and Commissioner Kelly have imposed what are effectively quotas on the police and treated entire minority communities with suspicion.
“I want to thank the men and women who came forward to testify to ensure everyone’s constitutional rights are preserved. I want them — and all New Yorkers — to know that I will protect our streets and protect the rights of our people. I will uphold the law and work with the federal monitor to make sure New Yorkers never have to choose between their constitutional rights and their safety. I will ensure the court’s decision fulfills its objective — a New York where everyone is protected by the law.”
“Judge Scheindlin’s decision recognizes that stop-and-frisk is an overused tactic in need of reform if it is going to be a tool that is useful for law enforcement. While thousands of innocent people in Brooklyn have been stopped without any reasonable suspicion, D.A. Hynes has sat silently in the face of injustice, refusing to stand up to stop-and-frisk abuses. That’s wrong. As the father of a young son growing up in this city, the abuse and misuse of stop-and-frisk is not just an academic exercise to me, but something that is all too real. It’s time for new leadership to reform these practices for the sake of all our children and make our streets both safer and stronger.”
“This is a groundbreaking victory. Judge Scheindlin recognized what the NAACP has been saying for years: the racial profiling tactic of stop-and-frisk has no place in our enlightened society,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “We hope that Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly will heed this decision and end their crude and abusive policy. We will continue to stand up with the tens of thousands of New Yorkers who marched with us last June and fight for the protections of the Community Safety Act.”
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch
“Today’s 195-page decision is unnecessarily complex and fails to address the root of the problem. Quotas for police activities like summonses and stop, question and frisks are a direct result of inadequate funding of the NYPD and understaffing in local precincts. The Mayor, City Council and agency head should properly fund the NYPD and allow police officers to exercise their professional discretion and judgment, just as they had prior to the dramatic increase in stops caused by quotas. Monitors, facilitators and public hearings, which will cost this city millions of dollars, will do nothing more than make the toughest policing job in the world even more difficult and dangerous. The effect of the decision will be to divert valuable public funds and scarce resources from policing, which could be used to hire more police officers, addressing the very problem this unwieldy judicially created regime is designed to address.”
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