A judge has ruled stop-and-frisk unconstitutional and racist. But will it stop?
A federal judge‘s ruling has finally affirmed what activists in New
York City have been saying for years: The New York City Police
Department (NYPD) policy of “stop-and-frisk” is legalized racial
profiling and harassment. The long-awaited decision
came in response to a lawsuit by eight plaintiffs challenging the
constitutionality of stop-and-frisk. But more fundamentally, it was the
product of an activist movement that has for years highlighted the
racist implications of this policy. The longstanding campaign to stop
“stop-and-frisk” gained new momentum in the aftermath of high profile
cases of police brutality and murder.
In February of 2012, unarmed African American teenager Ramarley Graham
was gunned down in his bathroom by NYPD officers claiming they saw a gun
in the waistband of his pants. This case helped to mobilize thousands
of New Yorkers to take to the streets more than a year ago to oppose
the policy. The murder of Trayvon Martin just days after Ramarley's
death sparked a national discussion about the perils of racial profiling
and the impact on young African-American men. All of this contributed
to an atmosphere where stop-and-frisk could no longer go unchallenged.
According to a report by the Center for Constitutional Rights, between
2004 and 2012, more than 4 million people were stopped, and in less than
6 percent of those stops was an arrest made. More than 80 percent of
those 4 million people were African American or Latino, raising the cry
from those communities that stop-and-frisk was officially sanctioned