In the broadest legal decision on the New York Police Department’s stop and frisk program yet, a federal judge ruled on Monday that the program is unconstitutional and violates the Fourth Amendment and 14th Amendment. According to the ruling, the city adopted a policy of indirect racial profiling.
The controversial program has led to 5 million stops of mostly black and Latino men since 2004. People stopped by police were found innocent 90 percent of the time, a statistic that led Judge Shira Scheindlin to note “the policy encourages the targeting of young black and Hispanic men based on their prevalence in local crime complaints. This is a form of racial profiling.”
In her ruling, Scheindlin ordered an independent monitor to ensure NYPD reforms its practices.
The program’s racial bias is staggering: Based on suspicion alone, police have stopped more young black men than the population of young black men in New York. Even so, Mayor Bloomberg has defended the program for disproportionately targeting whites and stopping minorities “too little.”