NYPD's controversial 'Stop and Frisk' policy ruled unconstitutional

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The NYPD's 'Stop and Frisk' policy was decried by many in poor communities.



A key part of the NYPD’s controversial “stop and frisk” tactic has been ruled unconstitutional.

Manhattan Federal Court Judge Shira Scheindlin ordered police to refrain from making trespass stops outside private residential buildings — even though the landlord has given officers permission to do so as part of the NYPD’s “Clean Halls” program.

"While it may be difficult to say when precisely to draw the line between constitutional and unconstitutional police encounters such a line exists, and the NYPD has systematically crossed it when making trespass stops outside buildings," Scheindlin wrote in a 157-page ruling.

JUAN GONZALEZ: TOO MANY INNOCENTS HARASSED BY NYPD'S "STOP AND FRISK" POLICY

“If he’s coming in the building and he doesn’t have his ID they harass him,” said Jefferson’s mother, Ronda Bryant, 52.

“I think it’s great. It’ll make a big difference,” Bryant said of Tuesday’s ruling.

But Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly stood by the practice, echoing the department’s larger defense of stop and frisk as a vital crimefighting tool.

“Some take for granted the safety provided by doormen who routinely challenge visitors to their apartment buildings. Through ‘Clean Halls,’ the police have worked to provide a modicum of safety for less prosperous tenants,” Kelly said.

He was not alone. Some residents of “Clean Halls” buildings vouched for the police presence.

“These buildings — especially in neighborhoods like this, which are kind of bad — need to be checked,” said Willie Hayes, 56, who lives on E. 163rd St. and added he doesn’t mind being stopped by police.
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Craig Warga/ New York Daily News
Reverend Al Sharpton and marchers participated in silent march in opposition to the NYPD's stop and frisk tactics.

The NYCLU argued that “Clean Halls,” which exists in 8,000 buildings citywide, leads to people being hassled by cops near their own abode for no legitimate reason.

The legal challenge centered on the case of Jaenean Ligon, who in August 2011 sent her 17-year-old son to buy ketchup for the family’s dinner.

Two plainclothes cops stopped and frisked the teen outside the family’s building and then asked Ligon to come downstairs to identify her son, according to court documents.

The mother of three testified the request sent her into a panic because she feared the worst — that her son had been seriously hurt or killed.

“The last thing I expect to hear is someone saying, ‘Come identify your son,’ ” Ligon said on the stand.

In addition to immediately halting such trespass stops in the Bronx, Scheindlin ordered a Jan. 31 hearing to determine what other relief should be granted.

“For those of us who do not fear being stopped as we approach or leave our own homes or those of our friends and family, it is difficult to believe that residents of one of our boroughs live under such a threat,” she wrote.

The fiery judge, who presided over three Junior Gotti trials, can certainly take the heat now.

“I do what I think is right, and whether the circuit (appeals court), the press, the public or whoever think it’s right, doesn’t matter,” Scheindlin told the Daily News in 1997. “Should it?”

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nypd-controversial-stop-frisk-policy-ruled-unconstitutional-article-1.1235578#ixzz2HRva14w2


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