Tag: stop-and-frisk policy

ACLU Sues City of Milwaukee for Racially Biased Stop-and-Frisk Policy

(image via colorlines.com; Courtesy of ACLU of Wisconsin, via Twitter @ACLUofWisconsin)

article by Kenrya Rankin via colorlines.com

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Wisconsin just filed a law suit against the city of Milwaukee alleging that the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) routinely and purposely stops and frisks Black and Latinx people with no cause.

Collins v. City of Milwaukee was filed in the Milwaukee Division of the U.S. District Court’s Eastern District of Wisconsin. It names six Black and Latinx residents who were stopped by police without reasonable suspicion as the plaintiffs. But as a class action suit, it seeks redress for every person who has been, or will be, stopped by the MPD since January 7, 2008, plus a subclass that includes all Black and Latinx members of that class.

The suit names the city, Chief of Police Edward Flynn and the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission as defendants. Filed yesterday (February 22), the suit alleges that at Flynn’s direction, the department violates the protections that should be afforded citizens of color via the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments and Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. And the ACLU says those violations are increasing: the number of traffic and pedestrian stops tripled in the years after Flynn became the top cop, jumping from 66,657 in 2007 to 196,434 in 2015.

To read more, go to: ACLU Sues City of Milwaukee for Racist Stop and Frisk Policy | Colorlines

Trayon Christian, a Teen Racially Profiled At Barneys, Receives $45,000 Settlement

Trayon Christian gets settlement from Barneys
Teen Trayon Christian gets settlement from Barneys after being racially profiled (photo via pix11.com)

Barneys has reached a settlement with a Black teen who was racially profiled in the luxury department store and wrongfully arrested by the NYPD.

Pix11 reports Trayon Christian was awarded $45,000 from the company this week. The incident happened in April 2013, when the then 19-year-old went to the Manhattan location to purchase a $348 Ferragamo belt. Barneys employees allegedly believed he bought the belt with a fraudulent credit card.

Christian was approached by NYPD officers and subjected to a reported “stop-and-frisk” procedure before he was arrested. His attorney, Michael Palillo, claims the NYPD was called by personnel, however police say there were officers already present in the store.

Following Christian’s encounter, Barneys faced intense scrutiny and was fined $525 million for racially profiling Black and Latino shoppers. In Aug. 2014, Christian shared his thoughts on the matter with Pix11:

“The settlement was in the best interest of the city,” a spokesperson for the city law department told PIX11 News.

“It made me feel much better, like [they’re] actually on top of them about something.”

That was Trayon Christian’s reaction to New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s announcement Monday morning that the state had fined Barneys $525 million after investigators found that the store had indeed profiled black and Latino shoppers.

When asked if today’s ruling makes it a little bit easier? Christian said, “Yeah, it does, just a little bit.”

Details regarding Christian’s own lawsuit remain private.

article by Desire Thompson via newsone.com

NYPD To Reform Stop And Frisk In NYC Public Housing

nypd-to-reform-stop-frisk-in-nycha-housing

New York City has agreed to reform stop and frisk police procedures in NYCHA public housing, the New York Daily News reports.

The agreement stems from Davis v. City Of New York, a class action lawsuit that NYCHA residents filed against the city over questionable stops and arrests in housing projects by NYPD officers five years ago.

Per the decision, a court-appointed federal monitor will supervise a training manual and procedure overhaul for cops patrolling public housing.

Now, officers who stop people in NYCHA properties must files reports documenting and justifying the encounter. However, the agreement does not discuss whether officers can use their weapons during the stop.

The ruling comes less than a month after a rookie cop accidentally shot and killed Akai Gurley in East New York’s Pink Houses. Officer Peter Liang was patrolling a dark stairwell in the area when he claims Gurley startled him coming down.

It also rides the heels of a 2013 ruling in Floyd v. City Of New York. In that case, Manhattan Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled stop and frisk unconstitutional.  Coincidentally, the Davis case will also require Scheindlin’s approval. The city seems to support the NYCHA ruling, however.

“This settlement appropriately balances the need to maximize public safety while respecting the constitutional rights of NYCHA residents and their guests,” a city Law Department spokesman said.

article by Hannington Dia via newsone.com

Yahnick Martin Receives $50K Settlement After NYPD Conducted Stop-And-Frisk and Ruined His Christmas

Yahnick Martin (pictured) got sweet reparation from the New York City Police Department after they  mistakenly slapped him with cuffs, hauled him off to jail, and had him leave his gift-filled van unattended and running on a Brooklyn street back in 2011. Now the city Law Department is reportedly forking over $50,000 to settle a federal lawsuit he filed against “New York’s finest” because the van and all of its gifts were stolen, ruining his family’s Christmas, according to the New York Daily News.

On December 23, 2011, Martin was reportedly sitting in a rented van waiting for his wife, who had dropped off a Christmas present to a friend. Martin, a real estate agent and father of three, was  smoking a cigar in his van when Officer Roman Goris and a few colleagues pulled up to his vehicle.  The “Men in Blue” claimed they smelled marijuana wafting in the air.

Goris asked Martin to exit the vehicle and patted him down which was a justifiable action according to court records.  The officer then went a step further and removed a lighter and Martin’s wallet from his person which a judge found to be unjustifiable.

When Martin spoke his mind about the harassment he was placed in cuffs.

As the officers hauled Martin away, he begged them to please allow him to secure his van which was filled with his children’s car seats, clothing, cell phones, his wife’s purse and Christmas gifts.

Martin’s pleas fell on deaf ears.

“That’s too bad. You should have thought of that before being a smartass,” a policeman responded to Martin’s request, according to the court records, states the New York Daily News.

When the van was eventually found, it was stripped and all of its contents were stolen.

Martin was given disorderly conduct summonses which were eventually dismissed.

Meanwhile Goris was mandated by the courts to contribute $500 toward Martin’s settlement and docked eight days pay for abusing his power and conducting an unwarranted stop-and-frisk move.

article by Ruth Manuel-Logan via newsone.com

Soledad O’Brien’s New “Black in America: Black and Blue” Documentary on Aggressive Police Tactics to Air 11/18 on CNN

Soledad-O’BrienSoledad O’Brien‘s new documentary “Black in America: Black & Blue” premieres Tuesday, November 18 at 9 PM ET on CNN. The new installment of her “Black in America” series touches a hot button issue, in the wake of the Ferguson, MO shooting and riots. The documentary will portray the personal stories of the men affected by aggressive policing tactics, many of whom were able to document the confrontations in shocking videos.

Among the stunning statistics that O’Brien points out, the NYPD reported made more than 5 million stops between 2002 and 2013.  80 percent of those stops were African American or Latino, and 88 percent of the stops did not result in arrests, summons, or evidence of any crime.

“What is so shocking is that this police practice was used around the country – and in some places still is – with the theory that police were stopping criminals,” said O’Brien. “It’s shocking that the city where this was popularized was stopping so many innocent people.”

See the full press release below:

Continue reading “Soledad O’Brien’s New “Black in America: Black and Blue” Documentary on Aggressive Police Tactics to Air 11/18 on CNN”

Mayor Bill de Blasio Says New York City Will Settle Suits on Stop-and-Frisk Tactics


Mayor Bill de Blasio with members of the Explorers youth program Thursday after announcing the stop-and-frisk case settlement. Joshua Bright for The New York Times

New York City will settle its long-running legal battle over the Police Department’s practice of stopping, questioning and often frisking people on the street — a divisive issue at the heart of the mayoral race last year — by agreeing to reforms that a judge ordered in August, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday.

In making the announcement, which he said he hoped would end a turbulent chapter in the city’s racial history, Mr. de Blasio offered a sweeping repudiation of the aggressive policing practices that had been a hallmark of his predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg, but that had stoked anger and resentment in many black and Latino neighborhoods. He essentially reversed the course set by Mr. Bloomberg, whose administration had appealed the judge’s ruling.

“We’re here today to turn the page on one of the most divisive problems in our city,” Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference. “We believe in ending the overuse of stop-and-frisk that has unfairly targeted young African-American and Latino men.”

The judge, Shira A. Scheindlin of Federal District Court in Manhattan, found that the department’s stop-and-frisk tactics were unconstitutional, and that it had resorted to “a policy of indirect racial profiling.” At the height of the program, in the first quarter of 2012, the police stopped people — mostly black and Latino men — on more than 200,000 occasions. A vast majority of those stopped were found to have done nothing wrong.

Judge Scheindlin had ordered the appointment of a monitor to develop, in consultation with the parties, widespread reforms of the department’s “policies, training, supervision, monitoring and discipline regarding stop-and-frisk.” That process will go forward as part of the agreement.

Continue reading “Mayor Bill de Blasio Says New York City Will Settle Suits on Stop-and-Frisk Tactics”

NYC Police Stop-and-Frisk Numbers Down Sharply

Opponents of the New York Police Department’s controversial 'stop-and-frisk' policy march on January 27, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Opponents of the New York Police Department’s controversial ‘stop-and-frisk’ policy march on January 27, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — The number of street stops under the police department’s heavily criticized stop-and-frisk tactic has plummeted 80 percent in recent months compared with the same time last year, and officers are recovering fewer weapons, according to police department data obtained Monday.  There were slightly more than 21,000 stops for July, August and September, after police changed training methods. There were 106,000 stops during the same months last year.

Officers recovered 99 firearms, down from 198 last year, and 463 knives, down from 1,016, according to the quarterly data provided to the City Council.  Police chief spokesman John McCarthy said there’s no “predetermined or correct number of stops,” just as there isn’t with arrests.  “Ultimately, police officers make their decisions based on real-time observations from the field — and those stops are based on reasonable suspicion,” he said.

The decline comes around a federal judge’s August ruling that the police department’s policy of stopping and questioning people based on reasonable suspicions a crime is about to occur or has occurred unfairly targeted minorities.  The judge ordered major reforms to the stop-and-frisk program after four men who argued they were unfairly targeted sued the city. Her ruling is on hold pending a city appeal.  The head of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Donna Lieberman, said the precipitous drop in stops is good news and proves the city, which is on track to have a record low number of murders this year, can stay safe without excessively stopping and frisking people.

“Even as (Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s) administration doggedly defends its stop-and-frisk program in court and in the public, these numbers are tacit recognition that it’s misguided and not necessary for the public safety,” she said.  

Continue reading “NYC Police Stop-and-Frisk Numbers Down Sharply”

Sybrina Fulton Speaks Out Against Stop-And-Frisk Policies (VIDEO)

Sybrina FultonThe mother of Trayvon Martin spoke out Sunday against the stop-and-frisk police practice in New York City, saying neither police nor civilians have the right to stop someone because of their race.  Critics say the stops target blacks and Hispanics who aren’t doing anything wrong. Earlier this week, a judge told New York City that its policy was racial discrimination. The city plans to appeal.  “You can’t give people the authority, whether civilian or police officers the right to just stop somebody because of the color of their skin,” Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton said on NBC’s Meet the Press.

Over the past decade, New York police have stopped, questioned and sometimes patted down about 5 million people; 87 percent were black or Hispanic. About 10 percent of the stops spur an arrest or summons. Police find weapons a fraction of the time.  New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly defended the use of stop and frisk Sunday and said violent crimes would increase if the practice were abandoned.  “The losers in this, if this case is allowed to stand, are people who live in minority communities,” he said on CBS’ Face the Nation.

Fulton’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, said the stop and frisk policy targeted people by race and noted it was still being used as the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech approached.  “It actually takes us away from his poignant words of, ‘I dreamed my children would be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin,’” Crump said.  Fulton has said neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman “got away with murder” in the 2012 killing of her son, largely because of Florida’s self-defense law.

Protesters had been occupying part of the Capitol in Tallahassee, calling for an examination of the Florida law since Zimmerman was acquitted last month. Zimmerman claimed self-defense in shooting the 17-year-old Martin during a fight; Martin’s supporters say Zimmerman profiled and followed him because Martin was black.

article by Associated Press via blackamericaweb.com

New York City’s Stop-and-Frisk Practice Violated Rights of Minorities, Judge Rules

Leroy Downes, a plaintiff in the stop-and-frisk trial, spoke at a news conference after a federal judge ruled that the practice violated the rights of minorities. (Ruth Fremson/The New York Times)

In a repudiation of a major element in the Bloomberg administration’s crime-fighting legacy, a federal judge has found that the stop-and-frisk tactics of the New York Police Department violated the constitutional rights of minorities in New York, and called for a federal monitor to oversee broad reforms.  In a blistering decision issued on Monday, the judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, found that the Police Department had “adopted a policy of indirect racial profiling” that targeted young minority men for stops. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said the city would appeal the ruling, angrily accusing the judge of deliberately not giving the city “a fair trial.”

The mayor cited the benefits of stop-and-frisk, crediting the tactic for making the city safer and for ridding the streets of thousands of illegal guns.  But in her ruling, Judge Scheindlin found that in doing so, the police systematically stopped innocent people in the street without any objective reason to suspect them of wrongdoing.  The stops, which soared in number over the last decade as crime continued to decline, demonstrated a widespread disregard for the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government, as well as the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause, according to the 195-page decision.

Judge Scheindlin’s criticism extended beyond the conduct of police officers; in holding the city liable for a battery of constitutional violations, the judge found that top police officials acted with deliberate indifference. She said that police commanders were content to dismiss allegations of racial profiling as “a myth created by the media.”  Citing statements by the mayor and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, Judge Scheindlin accused the city of using stop-and-frisk as a checkpoint-style policing tactic, with the intent of deterring minorities from carrying guns on the street.

“I also conclude that 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.  The judge designated an outside lawyer, Peter L. Zimroth, to monitor the Police Department’s compliance with the Constitution.

Judge Scheindlin also ordered a number of other remedies, including a pilot program in which officers in at least five precincts across the city will wear body-worn cameras in an effort to record street encounters. She also ordered a “joint remedial process” — in essence, a series of community meetings — to solicit public input on how to reform stop-and-frisk.

Continue reading “New York City’s Stop-and-Frisk Practice Violated Rights of Minorities, Judge Rules”

NYC Mayoral Candidate William “Bill” Thompson Compares Stop & Frisk To George Zimmerman’s Profiling

n-y-c-mayoral-candidate-bill-thompson-stop-and-frisk-george-zimmerman-comparison
On Sunday at Brooklyn’s Abundant Life Church, N.Y.C mayoral candidate William “Bill” Thompson (pictured) compared New York’s Stop & Frisk policy to the Trayvon Martin case, according to the Daily News.

“Here in New York City, we’ve institutionalized Mr. [George] Zimmerman’s suspicion with a policy that all but requires our police officers to treat young Black and Latino men with suspicion, to stop them and frisk them because of the color of their skin.”  Though Thompson has largely avoided speaking about race on the campaign trail, he said he felt urged to do so after Zimmerman’s “not guilty” verdict.

“Trayvon Martin did die because he was Black. Of that there is no doubt,” he added. Thompson also says we must begin looking at how the government enables systemic racism.  “I do not believe our government can fully stop racism, but I do believe we must constantly look to see how it may enable it, even unintentionally,” he said.

“So we must ask ourselves, when fear of young Black men ends in deadly violence against the innocent, has our government perpetuated that fear by targeting people of color with suspicion?”

Thompson is the only African-American candidate in the mayoral race.

article by Hannington Dia via newsone.com