Friday, August 16, 2013

121.1 - Good news: Stop-and-frisk smackdown

Good news: Stop-and-frisk smackdown

I love to start with good news, so let's try again this week.

You heard about this, I know you have, so I can be fairly brief without going into a great amount of detailed background.

In a stinging and long-overdue smackdown of New York Czar Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissar Ray Kelly, US District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin has ruled that the city's "stop-and-frisk" program deliberately and unconstitutionally violated the civil rights of tens of thousands of New Yorkers.

"The city's highest officials have turned a blind eye to the evidence that officers are conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner," she wrote, saying they "willfully ignored overwhelming proof" that the policy is racially discriminatory. Proof such as the fact that in 2011, 92 percent of those stopped were males, and 87 percent of those stopped were black or Hispanic, and nearly half were young black or Hispanic men, even though they account for only 4.6% of the city's population. Even in Greenwich Village, which is overwhelmingly white, 70 percent of those stopped in 2011 were black or Latino.

Stop and frisk, or, by its legal term, a Terry stop, the name being taken from Terry v. Ohio, a 1968 Supreme Court decision allowing the practice, is constitutional - but Scheindlin concluded that the plaintiffs in the case had "readily established that the NYPD implements its policies regarding stop and frisk in a manner that intentionally discriminates based on race," rather than the "reasonable suspicion" of criminal activity that is the standard for a legal Terry stop.

Some tried to defend the policy: An article in the National Journal in the wake of the decision selectively quoted an article in The Atlantic to argue the policy was effective in reducing crime, saying that in 2011, 770 guns were "recovered," that is, confiscated, during frisks; by comparison, 594 guns were found in 2003, the year before stop-and-frisk went into effect in the city.

But in 2011 there were 685,724 stops reported by police, an average of nearly 1,900 a day, which means that a gun was confiscated in slightly over one-tenth of one percent of stops. It also means getting those additional 176 guns as compared to 2003 meant one additional gun found every 3,900 stops, which means that 99.975% of the time the stop failed to take an additional gun off the streets. It's hard to imagine by what standard a failure rate of 99.975% constitutes "working."

And don't give me the "crime is down" line Mayor BloomingIdiot keeps invoking as a one-size-fits-all excuse for violating the rights of tens of thousands of people. The fact is, crime has been dropping for years and not just in New York. Both violent crime and serious property crime are way down from the early 1990s. Violent crime in the US peaked in 1992 and has declined almost every single year since. The number of violent crimes in the US is now down by nearly 38% since 1992. The rate of violent crime, violent crimes per capita, is down even more: from 1 per 132 residents in 1992 to 1 in 259 in 2011, a drop of nearly 50%.

Judge Scheindlin did not ban stop-and-frisk, she probably couldn't in the face of the Terry decision, but she did order an independent monitor to oversee major changes, including in areas of policies, training, supervision, monitoring, and discipline. She also ordered that officers test out body-worn cameras to create records of the encounters.

No one should live in fear of being stopped whenever he leaves his home to go about the activities of daily life,” the judge wrote. “Targeting young black and Hispanic men for stops based on the alleged criminal conduct of other young black or Hispanic men violates bedrock principles of equality.”



No comments:

// I Support The Occupy Movement : banner and script by @jeffcouturer / (v1.2) document.write('
I support the OCCUPY movement
');function occupySwap(whichState){if(whichState==1){document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}else{document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}} document.write('');