As Detroit’s crime rate continues to plague the city, one tactic the mayor and the police department may have been considering looks to be off limits – the controversial stop-and-frisk program.
This week, a U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin, handed out an injunction prohibiting New York Police Department officers from engaging in stop and frisk outside buildings designated by the Trespass Affidavit Program, or TAP, which allowed officers to stop and question residents both inside and outside private property (in residences dubbed “clean halls” buildings).
The program was originally intended to curb gun violence.
Stop-and-frisk has come under scrutiny because NYPD officers have racially profiled young males in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods.
With the help of the New York Civil Liberties Union, city residents sued the NYPD. The plaintiffs in the case argued that the NYPD “has a widespread practice of making unlawful stops on suspicion of trespass.” Apparently the facts of the case revealed that patrolling officers never differentiated between potential criminals and citizens. Black and Latino residents were stopped on suspicion of being Black and Latino alone.
Under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City’s stop-and-frisk program has been extremely controversial. Critics believe that the practice forces Black and Latino residents to random violations of their Fourth Amendment constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure.
Last year the NYCLU published a report that showed that more young African-American men had been subjected to stop and frisk than there were Black males living in the entire city. After the release of the report, civil rights activists called for the immediate dismantling of the program, but Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly continued to defend the practice, maintaining that the practice has been a key component to fighting gun violence in the city.
Scheindlin wrote in her injunction: “While it may be difficult to say where, precisely, to draw the line between constitutional and unconstitutional police encounters, such a line exists, and the NYPD has systematically crossed it.”