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Federal Judge Rules NYC "Stop and Frisk" Violated Rights 308

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the what-fourth-amendment dept.
In a mixed ruling for Fourth Amendment rights, a federal judge today ruled that NYC's Stop-and-Frisk program violated constitutional rights due to disproportionately targeting minorities. However, despite the program being unconstitutional in its current form, it will not stop. From the New York Times: " 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. ... The Supreme Court had long ago ruled that stop-and-frisks were constitutionally permissible under certain conditions, and Judge Scheindlin stressed that she was 'not ordering an end to the practice.' But she said that changes were needed to ensure that the street stops were carried out in a manner that “protects the rights and liberties of all New Yorkers, while still providing much needed police protection.' ... The judge found that the New York police were too quick to deem as suspicious behavior that was perfectly innocent, in effect watering down the legal standard required for a stop. " The ruling itself (PDF). Bloomberg is furious about the decision, and the city, naturally, intends to appeal.
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Federal Judge Rules NYC "Stop and Frisk" Violated Rights

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  • by Derekloffin (741455) on Monday August 12, 2013 @07:03PM (#44547191)
    Just have a directive that all city officials will be frisked at least once randomly each day. I'm sure once people see their public officials undergoing the same unwarranted searches they will be perfectly fine with it... assuming the public official don't quit first.
    • We have a saying in the SF Bay Area:

      Two wrongs don't make a right...

      but three rights make a left

      • by davester666 (731373) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @02:37AM (#44549791) Journal

        So now the cops will just do 'fake' s&s's on a whole bunch of white people to make the overall percentages more reasonable.

        By 'fake', I mean the cop will stop a random white person, say they want to do a s&s, maybe touch the person on the shoulder, maybe ask to look in their purse, and they are on their way [unlike the regular full ball-sack fondling search].

        This will have to dual effect of technically meeting the requirement of not solely targeting minorities, and making white go "why are they complaining about these searches? I/someone I know went through one of these searches and it was trivial."

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 12, 2013 @07:40PM (#44547505)

      You made a good joke and all but in all seriousness. No man is above the law?
      I'm a New Yorker and live in Manhattan for many many years. I'm white some what preppy, and a pot head.

      I've accidentally blown pot in a cops face before walking around a corner on the way home! They've seen me buy it on the streets when I was a kid and you name the kind of trouble it would look like you were in I've been seen standing next to! (I've changed ;) ).

      All I've ever been given is a stern stare.
      I know many black people and even some gay people who've been actually searched for doing nothing and bad things happen to them for having harmless things on them that should not be illegal.

      It is not fair or just on many levels.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Monday August 12, 2013 @08:19PM (#44547831) Homepage Journal

      Just have a directive that all city officials will be frisked at least once randomly each day.

      Well, if the idea is that you should stop and frisk the people who are most likely to be committing crimes, then at least in Chicago, you would absolutely justified in stopping and frisking every city official.

      I seem to recall that a Chicago city official is something like 17 times more likely to be convicted of a felony than the average Chicagoan. That exceeds any racial or ethnic basis for crime statistics by a wide margin. That's even greater than the likelihood that the perpetrator of a violent crime will be a man instead of a woman.

      Yes, that's a very good idea to start profiling city officials.

    • What's really sad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by whoever57 (658626) on Monday August 12, 2013 @08:38PM (#44547973) Journal
      What's really sad about this is that the act of frisking anyone without any fact-based suspicion is not considered a violation of the constitution. It's only the racial bias in the ways the stops were performed that makes it illegal.
      • Re:What's really sad (Score:5, Informative)

        by Shavano (2541114) on Monday August 12, 2013 @10:05PM (#44548581)
        Read the opinion, not the press release. Section B concerns the 4th Amendment and states that stops must be based on reasonable suspicion. Section C concerns the fact that race was substituted for reasonable suspicion.
      • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Monday August 12, 2013 @11:07PM (#44548893) Journal

        What's really sad about this is that the act of frisking anyone without any fact-based suspicion is not considered a violation of the constitution.

        What's DOUBLY sad about this is that a court found it unconstitutional and LET IT CONTINUE!

        The Supreme Court has said that unconstitutional laws are void from the start and do not authorize anything. Government functionaries claiming to operate under such laws and interpretations have no special standing - they'reperforming the act as a private citizen.

        If *I* stopped and frisked somebody it would be several felonies - which means it is if the cops do it, too.

  • I don't understand (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xevioso (598654) on Monday August 12, 2013 @07:03PM (#44547193)

    I've always wondered how something can be racist if it is true. I don't know what the percentages in NYC are of people who commit crimes in certain areas and what races those folks tend to be, but if 70% of the crimes in an area are committed by folks of a certain race, whatever that race may be, why does it not make sense to focus your suspicions while policing on people of that race?

    • by SpottedKuh (855161) on Monday August 12, 2013 @07:12PM (#44547275)
      Because focusing your suspicions on someone based on their socio-economic conditions (wealth, race, family, friends, etc.) as they relate to a specific crime is a very, very different matter from *detaining* someone based on those criteria.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 12, 2013 @08:31PM (#44547919)

        So I wondered what the actual statistics where the other day and here's the lose results of what I found, it took all of like 5 minutes of googling to find it, so basically anyone with a strong opinion on the subject against it is being intellectually dishonest.

        BUT!
        Firstly, the density and locations of stop and frisk (properly termed terry frisks after ohio v terry, a SCOTUS case that made this legal) fairly accurately map NYCs violent crime locations, particularly their homicides. The same places you're most likely to be terry frisked are also the places where you're most likely to be shot (as guns account for the majority of homicides there). Moreover, statistically speaking, sans grand larceny where the victim is most likely to be white, if you're a victim of basically any crime in NYC, you're probably black, or potentially hispanic. This holds especially true with homicide et cetera, with greater than 50% of the victims being black IIRC. Furthermore, if you're the victim of such a crime, your attacker is generally black.. or hispanic. With blacks making up 61% of the perpetrators of homicides from 2003 to 2011.

          So, stop and frisk occurs largely where the crimes, particularly homicides occur. The target and the perpetrator are statistically black or hispanic. So yes, if you don't consider what legitimate purposes the police might have, it could seem racist. However, once you look at the data, you're pretty much forced to recognize why they seem 'targeted'

        Left is crime rates, darker is more crime. Right is stop and frisk data, notice the correlation:
        http://i.imgur.com/Dztosey.jpg

        The same thing, but looking up towards harlem and the upper east side and such, where we see again the pattern of violent crime and incidence of stop and frisk occurs:
        http://i.imgur.com/nJ6K7z9.png

        Here we have murders plotted out 2003-2011 in NYC by race, blue dots are black perpetrators and gold are hispanic. Again cross-reference this with the stop and frisk data and you'll find the pattern again holds:
        http://i.imgur.com/lpaYmPU.png

        That isnt to say that NYPD isn't biased however, its just not against blacks and hispanics, its against gays. We find that the terry stop data when cross-referenced shows pretty clearly that the places with high volumes of violent crimes, particularly homicides, have high terry stop counts as well, UNLESS you're in an area that also shares a high volume of homosexuality, then the volume of stop and frisks drops:
        http://i.imgur.com/gqmDI3m.png

        So yeah, reality shows a pretty objective picture, its just that people dont want the truth, they want to show that cops and the government are racist institutions as justifications for doing whatever it is people want to do.

        • by tompaulco (629533) on Monday August 12, 2013 @09:53PM (#44548517) Homepage Journal
          The same places you're most likely to be terry frisked are also the places where you're most likely to be shot (as guns account for the majority of homicides there).
          There must be some mistake. When you make guns illegal, there shouldn't be any gun violence at all. I'm sure the criminals were first in line to turn in their guns when NYC made them illegal.
        • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday August 12, 2013 @11:37PM (#44549027) Journal

          So yeah, reality shows a pretty objective picture, its just that people dont want the truth, they want to show that cops and the government are racist institutions as justifications for doing whatever it is people want to do.

          Either you haven't looked very hard for data, or you've done an interesting job cherry picking information to reflect the reality you want to portray.
          Here's the results of what I found, it took all of like 5 minutes of googling to find it, so basically anyone with a strong opinion on the subject supporting the NY Police is being intellectually dishonest.

          http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/05/22/2046451/white-people-stopped-by-new-york-police-are-more-likely-to-have-guns-or-drugs-than-minorities/ [thinkprogress.org]

          • The likelihood a stop of an African American New Yorker yielded a weapon was half that of white New Yorkers stopped. The NYPD uncovered a weapon in one out every 49 stops of white New Yorkers. By contrast, it took the Department 71 stops of Latinos and 93 stops of African Americans to find a weapon.
          • The likelihood a stop of an African American New Yorker yielded contraband was one-third less than that of white New Yorkers stopped. The NYPD uncovered contraband in one out every 43 stops of white New Yorkers. By contrast, it took the Department 57 stops of Latinos and 61 stops of African Americans to find contraband.

          It's unlikely that the appropriate lesson to take from these findings is that stops of white people should increase because they are more likely to carry weapons and drugs. Rather, they suggest that police are excessively targeting minorities. Officers may be netting more successful stops of white New Yorkers because they are only likely to stop a white person when they actually suspect that person of committing a crime

          89% of stops result in no action.
          That's hundreds of thousands of people who are harassed by the NYPD for no reason other than being young and not-white.

        • by Arker (91948) on Monday August 12, 2013 @11:42PM (#44549047) Homepage Journal

          Correlation isnt causation, and even if your incidences stack up perfectly that still does not translate into the color of your skin amounting to individual probable cause to search you, and in America we do not permit searches without such individual cause for suspicion.

          Furthermore, the 'crimes' they are catching here are simple possession of controlled substances or second amendment implements. So the poor black/hispanic guy that is stuck living here and has to walk on these streets where his chances of getting shot are relatively high to begin with, and he either arms himself or gets high, depending on which type he is. And now he gets randomly stopped and caught and boom! another poor person converted into a criminal.

          Much easier and more lucrative for the imprisonment-industrial complex to deal with than trying to figure out who is actually committing murders and arrest THEM and convict them. Those cases might get complicated, and require police work.

        • by Camael (1048726) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:35AM (#44549345)

          And I think the Judge was right. If you read the Judgment, your argument is the same one the NYC police made.

          Right at the start, the Judge said that even if racial profiling is effective at combating crime, being unconstitutional it cannot be used :-

          I emphasize at the outset, as I have throughout the litigation, that this case is not about the effectiveness of stop and frisk in deterring or combating crime. This Court’s mandate is solely to judge the constitutionality of police behavior, not its effectiveness as a law enforcement tool. Many police practices may be useful for fighting crime — preventive detention or coerced confessions, for example — but because they are unconstitutional they cannot be used, no matter how effective.

          The Judge also found as a fact that the stops were not effective. The uncontested facts are :-

          Between January 2004 and June 2012, the NYPD conducted over 4.4 million Terry stops.

          In 98.5% of the 2.3 million stops where frisks for weapons were conducted, no weapon was found.

          88% of the 4.4 million stops resulted in no further law enforcement action.

          In 52% of the 4.4 million stops, the person stopped was black, in 31% the person was Hispanic, and in 10% the person was white. In 2010, New York City’s resident population was roughly 23% black, 29% Hispanic, and 33% white.

          Weapons were seized in 1.0% of the stops of blacks, 1.1% of the stops of Hispanics, and 1.4% of the stops of whites.

          Contraband other than weapons was seized in 1.8% of the stops of blacks, 1.7% of the stops of Hispanics, and 2.3% of the stops of whites.

          The key point to note is that although whites were stopped with much less frequency than blacks or Hispanics, the percentage of them found to be carrying weapons or contraband were higher compared to blacks or Hispanics. So you can't even make the argument that black or Hispanics ought to be stopped more than whites because they were more likely to carry weapons or contraband, because this is untrue.

          The Judge also disagreed that it was fair to look at crime rates :-

          The City and its highest officials believe that blacks and Hispanics should be stopped at the same rate as their proportion of the local criminal suspect population. But this reasoning is flawed because the stopped population is overwhelmingly innocent — not criminal. There is no basis for assuming that an innocent population shares the same characteristics as the criminal suspect population in the same area.

          To put it in simple terms, if you happen to be black or Hispanic and have been clean all your life, you wouldn't like it if you were stopped simply because you are black or Hispanic.

          My gut reaction was originally the same as you, but having read the judgment in more detail I cannot say that the decision was wrong or unjust. I hope Bloomberg will at least read the same judgment.

           

          • The City and its highest officials believe that blacks and Hispanics should be stopped at the same rate as their proportion of the local criminal suspect population. But this reasoning is flawed because the stopped population is overwhelmingly innocent — not criminal. There is no basis for assuming that an innocent population shares the same characteristics as the criminal suspect population in the same area.

            To put it in simple terms, if you happen to be black or Hispanic and have been clean all your life, you wouldn't like it if you were stopped simply because you are black or Hispanic.

            Or to put it another way, just because a black neighborhood has a high rate of crime, you still can't suspend the Fourth Amendment to fight crime in that neighborhood.

        • by GoogleShill (2732413) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @01:18AM (#44549537)

          With blacks making up 61% of the convictions of homicides from 2003 to 2011.

          FTFY. I hope you understand how the number of "perpetrators" and "convictions" are only related by the amount of money the defendant has to spend on lawyers.

    • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Monday August 12, 2013 @07:12PM (#44547283) Journal

      The vast majority of violent crimes are males. Please submit for your daily frisking, male scum.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 12, 2013 @07:12PM (#44547289)

      Self-fulfilling prophecy for one thing. If cops believe the majority of crimes are committed by cubans, and spend 90% of their time in cuban neighborhoods frisking cuban immigrants then 90% of their arrests will be cubans. This will serve as a confirmation bias to further harass cubans, because 90% of criminals are cubans.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 12, 2013 @07:26PM (#44547407)

        Not to mention the negative effects that such behaviour would have on the cuban areas and on the mentality of the people living in them, which then makes it more likely that they will live up to the stereotype that has been formed of them.

        Think about it... black people are -no- different to us in any way except their appearance. The number of people that escape that trap and become highly successful proves it. So what's different? The people that are like that are like that for no reason other than they have grown up believing that is the slot in which they are placed.

        Plus there are plenty of equivalents in every other population group... but the ones that look like you blend into the crowd while those that look different stand out. Therefore you ignore the first and focus on the latter, falsely believing only the latter exist.

      • by VinylRecords (1292374) on Monday August 12, 2013 @07:50PM (#44547605)

        That doesn't really work with murder and gang violence. You can't hide gunshots and dead bodies from society. You can massage arrest stats and crime stats for drugs, gambling, prostitution, and even burglaries and auto-theft. Let a few prostitutes go because it's not worth the hassle. Knock down some felony thefts into petty larceny.

        Ever seen an arrest sheet for a kid who fires at police with a gun? Kids in gangs have huge arrest sheets. Dozens of violent arrests but all knocked down to minor crimes. It hides the stats and makes NYC look safer. Then these kids get out into the streets and eventually are killed by police after a few robberies, murders, and rapes. All the gang violence by kids like Shaaliver Douse and Kimani Gray are hidden from society until it is too late.

        But you can't realistically turn a murder into something else unless you really stretch the truth. You can't say that a dead body filled with bullets was a suicide or a hunting accident in NYC. So these magic fake stats that the police use rarely apply to murder. A body is a body. We are seeing this with the Ft. Hood mass shooting. Obama refuses to call it terrorism because it counts negatively towards his anti-terror stats. So he classifies that as 'workplace violence' when an admitted terrorist is firing into crowds of people screaming 'Allah Akbar'.

        The reason why police profile certain races, certain age groups, certain dress types, and other attributes and behaviors, is that those help them narrow down the likely perpetrator of a gang crime. Gang violence in NYC, LA, Detroit, Chicago, is what causes the majority of street murders. Stop and Frisk was meant to profile gang members and then allow police to search them for weapons. It's solved a considerable number of murders. And prevented a considerable number of murders.

        The majority of murders solved and prevented by Stop and Frisk have been of black victims. Because black on black crime is almost an epidemic in large urban areas in the United States.

        • by Alsee (515537) on Monday August 12, 2013 @08:07PM (#44547719) Homepage

          You can't say that a dead body filled with bullets was a suicide or a hunting accident in NYC.

          Sure you can:
          Dick Cheney was visiting the city.

          -

        • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Monday August 12, 2013 @08:08PM (#44547735)

          And prevented a considerable number of murders.

          Citation?

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 12, 2013 @08:13PM (#44547767)

          The majority of murders solved and prevented by Stop and Frisk have been of black victims.

          Is there any evidence that Stop and Frisk actually prevented or solved any crimes? I understand that 92% of searches were total misses, which means 8% have hit "something". But somehow I doubt a lot of them were fleeing murderers and not people with unregistered guns or with pot.

        • by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Monday August 12, 2013 @08:27PM (#44547887)

          Gang violence in NYC, LA, Detroit, Chicago, is what causes the majority of street murders. Stop and Frisk was meant to profile gang members and then allow police to search them for weapons. It's solved a considerable number of murders. And prevented a considerable number of murders.

          The majority of murders solved and prevented by Stop and Frisk have been of black victims. Because black on black crime is almost an epidemic in large urban areas in the United States.

          All of which is rooted in rampant poverty. But, by all means, let's continue playing cowboys and indians because it's a hell of a lot more fun than actually fixing the underlying problem.

      • by mc6809e (214243) on Monday August 12, 2013 @07:57PM (#44547645)

        Self-fulfilling prophecy for one thing. If cops believe the majority of crimes are committed by cubans, and spend 90% of their time in cuban neighborhoods frisking cuban immigrants then 90% of their arrests will be cubans. This will serve as a confirmation bias to further harass cubans, because 90% of criminals are cubans.

        In other words, non-Cubans get a pass and their crimes remain invisible, right?

        That might work for some crimes, but not for those with obvious victims and villains. Murders, for example, can't often be made to disappear through lack of enforcement and followup.

        • by Derekloffin (741455) on Monday August 12, 2013 @08:05PM (#44547705)
          That depends. Several things play into crimes that are even difficult to conceal. Just because we know Joe was murdered doesn't mean we find his killer. Just because we find Joe's killer doesn't mean we can get a conviction. Even if you can get a conviction doesn't mean the crime is punished in the same way. Add to that that in the long term, a bias in enforcement can cause behavior shifts in the populous and that further complicates the matter.
    • by Microlith (54737) on Monday August 12, 2013 @07:14PM (#44547305)

      Because it's attacking a stereotype and completely disregards the civil rights of the people you search. The police can't possibly have reasonable suspicion that every black person in NYC is a potential criminal. It's the same bullshit that the TSA uses to search/scan everyone who comes through, and it's broken there as well.

    • by cdrudge (68377) on Monday August 12, 2013 @07:15PM (#44547311) Homepage

      I presume you are not in a race where you are suspected and targeted for increased frisking not because you actually look suspicious, or because you fit the description of someone who was at the scene of a crime, but just because the color of your skin.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 12, 2013 @07:17PM (#44547339)

      From the article:

      "During police stops, she found, blacks and Hispanics "were more likely to be subjected to the use of force than whites, despite the fact that whites are more likely to be found with weapons or contraband."

      So is it racist? Blacks and Hispanics are subject to more force, despite being less likely to carry arms/contraband. So shouldn't white people be the ones being stopped an frisked more than anyone else?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 12, 2013 @07:19PM (#44547359)

      I've always wondered how something can be racist if it is true. I don't know what the percentages in NYC are of people who commit crimes in certain areas and what races those folks tend to be, but if 70% of the crimes in an area are committed by folks of a certain race, whatever that race may be, why does it not make sense to focus your suspicions while policing on people of that race?

      The thing you have to remember is how crime statistics are compiled. If 70% of drug offenders are black, for instance, that does not mean that 70% of all people who use drugs are black. It means 70% of those who are arrested are black. If you focus the bulk of your efforts on black people because 70% of drug offenders are black, then you'll just continue to incarcerate black people while white investment bankers continue doing blow. This is what's racist about it: you're now at risk of targeting one particular race and creating a perpetual cycle of over-selection from the greater population.

      Back to your original point: you're advocating profiling as a reasonable, objective mechanism for effectively stopping a type of crime. This works as a thought experiment or in a sterile academic environment. Once you get into the world, though, you really don't have a reliable method for determining the percentages of offenders outside of looking at those who are arrested, which leads your (well-intentioned) plan into a system in which certain crimes are only illegal for certain races.

    • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Monday August 12, 2013 @07:31PM (#44547439)

      I've always wondered how something can be racist if it is true.

      Because complaints of "racism" is now how you stop people from telling the truth.

      13% of the U.S. population is black but they commit 50% of all murders and 55% of all robberies. But that's just the national average. In some areas it's much worse. In Chicago for example, blacks and hispanics combined are responsible for 96% of all murders. In St. Paul, Minnesota the population is 13% black but they are responsible for 70% of all crimes.

      And so on, and so on . . . . . . .

      When minorities stop committing a disproportionate amount of crime the police will leave them alone.

      • by BlueStrat (756137) on Monday August 12, 2013 @08:31PM (#44547917)

        I've always wondered how something can be racist if it is true.

        Because complaints of "racism" is now how you stop people from telling the truth.

        13% of the U.S. population is black but they commit 50% of all murders and 55% of all robberies. But that's just the national average. In some areas it's much worse. In Chicago for example, blacks and hispanics combined are responsible for 96% of all murders. In St. Paul, Minnesota the population is 13% black but they are responsible for 70% of all crimes.

        And so on, and so on . . . . . . .

        When minorities stop committing a disproportionate amount of crime the police will leave them alone.

        1. Blacks commit violent crimes four to eight times the white rate. Hispanic commit violent crimes at approximately three times the white rate, and Asians at one half to three quarters the white rate.

        2. Blacks are as much more violent than whites (four to eight times) as men are more violent than women.

        3. Of the approximately 1,700,000 interracial crimes of violence involving blacks and whites, 90 percent are committed by blacks against whites. Blacks are 50 times more likely than whites to commit individual acts of interracial violence. They are up to 250 times more likely than whites to engage in multiple-offender or group interracial violence.

        4. There is more black-on-white than black-on-black violent crime. Fifty-six percent of violent crimes committed by blacks have white victims. Only two to three percent of violent crimes committed by whites have black victims.

        5. Blacks are twice as likely to commit hate crimes.

        *Sources

        Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States

        Bureau of Justice Statistics, Criminal Victimization

        Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice

        Federal Bureau of Investigation, Hate Crime Statistics
        ----

        An "inconvenient truth"?

        Strat

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 12, 2013 @10:32PM (#44548729)

          What happen to those statistics when you change black and white to poor and well off? How about the density of poor black people near wealthy white people? Also, how about listing links to the statistics you offer? I did a cursory search for the stats that you claim, and basically you are completely full of it:
          You: "Blacks are twice as likely to commit hate crimes"
          Fact: "Whites are more than twice as likely to commit hate crimes"

          See link:
          http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/hate-crime/2011/narratives/offenders
          "In 2011, the races of the 5,731 known hate crime offenders were as follows:

          59.0 percent were white.
          20.9 percent were black."

          You: "Blacks commit violent crimes four to eight times the white rate."
          Fact: "White individuals were arrested more often for violent crimes than individuals of any other race, accounting for 59.4 percent of those arrests."
          See link:
          http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table-43

          Basically you are a racist who is making up statistics. If you are racist, well there's nothing I can do about it, but don't spread lies to try to make others racist.

      • If you're interested in crime prevention and care equally about all citizens, you'll have to insist that police should spend more effort protecting blacks. That requires good relations with the community, to get tips about who's running the crack house and whose kid is at a turning point. The police won't get those good relations by stopping people at random and treating them like convicts or airline passengers.

    • by gweihir (88907) on Monday August 12, 2013 @07:31PM (#44547445)

      Economically speaking, you are right of course. Target the mitigation-measures where they have most impact. The problem is that you cause people fitting the pattern without actually doing something wrong to be targeted as well. Think of it as discrimination against minorities. For example, think of it as discrimination against non-criminals in a certain race group. That is the real problem, discrimination against certain groups because of characteristics that are not their fault. The results will be that these people are intimidated, have their personal integrity and privacy violated, while doing nothing wrong whatsoever.

      On the other hand, this whole stop-and-frisk sounds very much like organized racism, and not like anything that would actually do any good with fighting crime. It is well known that cops are generally too stupid to carry this out fairly and will just fall back on their own racist ideas, invalidating the whole approach.

      • by Belial6 (794905) on Monday August 12, 2013 @08:17PM (#44547819)
        You are endorsing the kind of racism that is even worse for minorities. You see, the statement

        The problem is that you cause people fitting the pattern without actually doing something wrong to be targeted as well. Think of it as discrimination against minorities. For example, think of it as discrimination against non-criminals in a certain race group. That is the real problem, discrimination against certain groups because of characteristics that are not their fault. The results will be that these people are intimidated, have their personal integrity and privacy violated, while doing nothing wrong whatsoever.

        only needs to be dropped to include all of us. Believe it or not, white people DO get abused by the police as well. When a white person complains about this, they generally get the equivalent of "shut up whitey, you are the oppressor." This doesn't make things better for minorities, it shuns potential allies. Possibly more allies than in the group who is shunning them. And why do they shun these potential allies? Because of the color of their skin. Madness.

        PROTIP: If a white person feels that they have the same problem you feel you have, and want to help you end the problem, take the help.

    • by physicsphairy (720718) on Monday August 12, 2013 @07:36PM (#44547475) Homepage

      Mathematically, it does make sense. But the American system is not designed to be the optimum system for incarcerating the guilty, it is designed to provide a maximum protection of rights to all citizens while making the minimum concessions necessary to keep law and order. One feature of the system is "innocent until proven guilty." And this applies to collection of evidence as well, i.e., a warrant based on some substantive reasons is required before searching my property; it can not be done as a matter of intuition and personal suspicion. You can't submit "being " on the warrant, and so you shouldn't be able to use that as the basis of pat down either.

      Of course, I think the government may still be performing less-than-constitutional searches even if they are not "racially discriminating" in performing them.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Monday August 12, 2013 @07:44PM (#44547535)

      Because some people decided that it wasn't a good idea to judge a person based on his or her skin colour, sex, etc. No matter who you are, I can come up with some demographic you belong to that is more likely to do something undesirable, so that sort of profiling can be used to justify anything.

    • by Artifakt (700173) on Monday August 12, 2013 @07:56PM (#44547641)

      Like the summary said, "the New York police were too quick to deem as suspicious behavior that was perfectly innocent". So they focused their suspicions on race, and didn't focus on real suspicious behavior.
      It's true the cops focused on one race.
      It's true the cops didn't focus on people of other races who had indicators that tie much more strongly to crime (Or did you think the white and hispanic gangs of New York don't wear their own gang symbols or colors. The cops damned well know what these are, and acting like they don't is one of the reasons for these charges of racism. We have cops in this case claiming "I must have missed those briefings - the only ones I remember are gang X's", where X 'just happens' to be a black gang. Maybe that cop isn't racist, but if not, most of the other explanations are pretty bad too, as in 'cop sleeps through briefings on gang violence', or 'cop has very limited data storage').
      It's true the cops didn't often do things like ask a suspect where they lived and then follow up with a few casual seeming questions to see if the person was really a local in that neighborhood, which something they are trained to do and is a pretty good way to spot many criminals, as most criminals learn to work outside of a neighborhood safe zone where they are well recognized. (Drug dealers are sometimes a particular exception to this, if their neighborhood is tolerant. Are the cops trying to only catch drug deal;ers and no other criminals? If so, why is any cop who is not a racist focusing on one type of crime when he isn't even assigned to that section of the force? If we grant that cop the claim that he is not a racist, we are left needing some explanation on why these cops are going to the frisk stage without using this technique and many others like it, first. Incidentally, the more violent criminals usually learn faster to do their work outside of a buffer zone - why not try harder to catch them, of all criminals?).
      People who point out that crimes in "certain areas" "tend to be" of a certain race often ignore that there are very strong statistical ties to make these same race crimes (i.e. black on black, white on white, hispanic on hispanic, and even Dominican Republic descent on Dominican Republic descent or Recent Russian immigrant on Recent Russian immigrant). The numbers there are grouped much more closely than by race in general. It's true that NYC cops keep stopping and frisking blacks in the same percentages even when they have been given orders to particularly be on the lookout for a particular criminal who has knocked over three Albanian Immigrant mom and pop stores in the last month, and even when that particular high profile suspect is described as Caucasian.
             

    • by Xeno man (1614779) on Monday August 12, 2013 @08:07PM (#44547723)
      It depends on what area you are in. Did you know that a whooping 99% of all crime in Africa is committed by black people. If your in Africa, don't trust any black people. Also the vast majority of crime committed in Japan is done by Asians. I was thinking of visiting Japan but I only want to visit areas that are free of Asians.
    • by swalve (1980968) on Monday August 12, 2013 @08:10PM (#44547741)
      Because you don't know whether it's true or not until after the fact. Racism is using race as a factor in making value judgements or decisions about someone.

      70% of the crimes might well be committed by one race according to the FBI statistics, but the majority of the members of that race aren't criminals. Even if it WAS true that 70% of black people, it would be unethical and immoral to treat the entire race any differently, since it subjects that other 30% to punishment for sins they haven't committed.
    • by Jimbob The Mighty (1282418) on Monday August 12, 2013 @08:14PM (#44547787)
      How are these statistics being collected? If a white person is more likely to get off with a warning, but a person of colour charged and/or convicted, wouldn't this skew the results?
    • by Lendrick (314723) on Monday August 12, 2013 @08:15PM (#44547803) Homepage Journal

      Interestingly, when you look at the stop-and-frisk statistics, it turned out that white people were the ones most likely to be committing a crime. Clearly they need to be stopping more white people.

    • by jrumney (197329) on Monday August 12, 2013 @08:22PM (#44547857) Homepage

      It isn't racist to observe that black males are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime. It is racist when you start treating black males as criminals with no other evidence other than the fact they are black.

    • by raymorris (2726007) on Monday August 12, 2013 @08:24PM (#44547873)
      First, you're looking at the wrong number mathematically. The proper statistic would be "X% of black people are criminals". Remember you're trying to estimate whether or not a particular person is a criminal, not who a particular crime was committed by. because a very small number of black people or white people are criminals race is not a good indicator that a particular person is engaging in criminal behavior.

      Secondly, there are behaviors that are suspicious and other evidence. In my city, for example crack dealers circle the block on bicycles in the middle of the night. If X% of crack dealers are black, approximately X% of the people circling the block in the middle of the night will be black. If you focus on the specific suspicious behavior, you'll get more accurate results AND whatever racial proportion is correct will be looked at as a side effect, without ever considering race. So mathematically, it's best to ignore race when stronger indicators are available.

      Lastly, other commentors have discussed the EFFECTS of racial profiling. Harassing people on racial grounds also has negative effects.

      Interestingly, your concept of "true probabilities" DOES work for solving a specific crime. If, in a certain city, the italian mob does professional hits, then when investigating a professional hit it's mathematically correct to have a look at Italian mobsters. I'll say it - if young middle eastern men are normally the ones who hijack planes, it makes sense mathematically to check which young middle eastern men are booked on the flight, AFTER you have evidence that flight is involved in a hijacking attempt
    • by DarkOx (621550) on Monday August 12, 2013 @08:40PM (#44547993) Journal

      The reason is there is not a whole lot of evidence out there to suggest that race is a driving factor, as appose to other factors like education levels, environmental health, and economic opportunities that for historical reasons may also correlate with certain racial groups.

      Consider: You have 1000 identical little plastic boxes. You open 200 of them and insert a little slip of paper with the word "crook" written on it. You open the others and insert a little slip of paper that says "good citizen" on it. Close up all your boxes. Put them in a larger box and shake to fully randomize. What percentage of the time will you pull out a box with a "crook" card in it?

      Now replace the box you removed, and randomize again. Draw out 200 boxes, and dip them in vinyl dye turning them bright green. Replace the boxes. Would you expect to find crook cards more frequently inspecting only green boxes that simply inspecting any box?

      Now suppose that you do decide to only look at green boxes or say that for every beige box you open you will be opening 10 green ones. Might it seem like most of the crook cards you discover are in green boxes? Would this be a good justification for continuing to more closely scrutinize green boxes?

      • by tompaulco (629533) on Monday August 12, 2013 @10:30PM (#44548719) Homepage Journal
        Education, environment and economic opportunities are excuses. One still has the opportunity and the responsibility to better oneself. I grew up in a lower income neighborhood and spent time in inner city schools and schools where minorities made up 90% of the population. I didn't have a parent at home that could help me with homework, my parents were divorced, my series of stepfathers didn't care for anything other than hitting and yelling, and my mother worked all the time and couldn't cook for us or help us with homework. I never joined a gang. I didn't hang out with people in gangs. I hung out with other people who were making the best of a bad situation. I finished school with a 3.2 and went to college and graduated with a degree in engineering. I didn't even really put forth a lot of effort inn high school OR college really. In fact, I had some serious senioritis in college, but I still finished high enough to be in the engineering honor society.
        Yes, some people have it worse than me, but a lot of people had it better and still use their environment as an excuse. You have to take responsibility for yourself and make something of yourself.
    • by Khashishi (775369) on Monday August 12, 2013 @09:00PM (#44548147) Journal

      It doesn't matter if it's true that black and Hispanic people commit more crimes in NYC. People still have rights. Rights are absolute and aren't supposed to be chucked aside to make it easier for police.

    • by s.petry (762400) on Monday August 12, 2013 @09:09PM (#44548213)

      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

      Seriously, what part of that is hard to grasp? If there is so much crime in an area, why not hire police and ask the neighborhood to help resolve issues without grabbing people and violating a basic human right?

      Let me ask a pointed question to drive that thought home. What prevents more traffic violations? An Officer in the open visible for everyone to see, or an officer hiding in the bushes with a radar gun?

      The obvious answer is that the visible officer will prevent violations. If you see the cop and don't slow down, you deserve the ticket. Prevention is the primary purpose of the law, not punishment after the fact. It is because of that philosophy that we have the right to a fair trial and are presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

      It's a set of broken logic that gets you to the point of believing something like stop and frisk is okay. Would you have no problems with it if it was your neighborhood and they were stopping everyone of your ethnicity and preventing them from going to work? Home from work? Going to visit grandma, or help some kids in poverty?

      Just remember, for every one story of the cops busting someone with a weapon (which is intentionally loosely defined by the NYPD) there are 99 stories of people being stopped for doing nothing except for being born Black or Hispanic. I agree with the judge that the policy is not acceptable, even if it's 1 innocent in 100. The real solution is to hire more police, show people a better life style, and give them opportunities in society.

      If the only method a person has for survival is to break the law, then society has failed and not that person.

    • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Monday August 12, 2013 @09:09PM (#44548215) Homepage Journal

      Very few crimes are being caught or prevented. Gun seizures are low. Weed busts have nothing to do with public safety.

      NYC police chief Ray Kelly admitted to state senator Eric Adams in 2010 "[Kelly] stated that he targeted and focused on that group because he wanted to instil fear in them that every time that they left their homes they could be targeted by police". It is, in other words, deliberately intended as racist.

    • by ljw1004 (764174) on Monday August 12, 2013 @09:43PM (#44548455)

      I've always wondered how something can be racist if it is true.

      There are a variety of old sayings I've heard about this, along these lines... "The best place to hide a lie is inside the truth". "Heed not the word of a demon even though it speak the truth".

      You asked how can something be racist if it's true. The main answer I think is selective reporting. Imagine a hypothetical town in which black and white people live 50/50, and imagine that mugged are committed 50/50 by the two groups, but the town newspaper always says "The perpetrator was a white male in his 30s" for white perpetrators and "The perpetrator was a male in his 30s" for black perpetrators. The newspaper only ever tells the truth, but it's racist and creates an impression of more crime by white people than black..

      Here's a good deconstruction of an AP article that told the truth but was sexist.
      http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/08/02/jennifer_rosoff_s_death_and_the_associated_press_s_sexist_reporting_of_it.html [slate.com]
      Same principle. Quoting from the article: "You may accuse me of overreacting, but the minor details that journalists choose to include or exclude from their reporting are one of many subtle ways that oppressive gender norms are perpetuated."

  • by Nerdfest (867930) on Monday August 12, 2013 @07:07PM (#44547227)

    I remember reading an article showing that based on the descriptions of those actually committing crimes, visible minorities were significantly under-represented in the people frisked. If this "Stop and Frisk" this is supposed to be random or something, it sounds like there's a bias, but based on trying to stop crime, apparently not.

    • by fermion (181285) on Monday August 12, 2013 @08:01PM (#44547677) Homepage Journal
      The justification is that darker complexioned young men tend to commit crimes and therefore they should be investigated. The justification is that when we do stop such people, crime rates fall, therefore we are stopping criminals. The counter argument is that even if such people may in fact commit crimes at an increased rate, it is not in the best interest of the country to take a group of people and deprive them of rights or privileges simply because they are part of a dangerous group.

      Let look at two examples based on driving. Driving is a privileged, not a right, and therefore it should be easy to pass laws to severely reduce the death of innocent people. Three groups are arguably predominately responsible for deaths of innocent bystanders involving vehicles. One are drunk drivers, which are being dealt with as a nation. The other are the very young and the very old. We could cut the deaths caused by these dangerous drivers significantly by two simple laws. The first would restrict the driving of any minor. Right now it is restricted for a number of months, or a year, but we could easily say 1 passenger and no driving after 10, without a special waiver, for anyone under 19, with any accident resulting in a year increase.This would likely result in the deaths of families of four caused by distracted teens a few times a year, and well as a myriad of other deaths. It would likely reduce insurance of all of us.

      Likewise we could demand that anyone over 70 take a full drivers exam every year. If anyone over 60 has a ticket, they have to take a full drivers exam. This would end the death of innocents shopping at farmers markets.

      Why do we not make these common sense precautions that save lives? Because we do not want to infringe on the rights of the great majority of drivers who are skilled and law abiding. Just because a few show criminal negligence, we do not punish everyone.

      • by HornWumpus (783565) on Monday August 12, 2013 @08:22PM (#44547855)

        FYI the real danger period for young drivers is the first 1000 hours of operation. Almost the same as for new pilots (who are almost all older).

        The real reason we don't put reasonable restrictions on older drivers. AARP and political expedience/cowardice. At that any cop can and will send an old driver back to DMV to retest based on something the cop sees happen.

    • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Monday August 12, 2013 @08:15PM (#44547801)

      I remember reading an article showing that based on the descriptions of those actually committing crimes, visible minorities were significantly under-represented in the people frisked.

      Seems to me the numbers I saw were about 4.4 million "stop & frisk" since Bloomberg got to be mayor (no, it didn't start with him, but the numbers I saw referred to his reign), of which 89% were "people of color".

      Since New York City has more than 11% whites, it looks pretty clearly like the people being stopped were "walking while black"....

  • by O('_')O_Bush (1162487) on Monday August 12, 2013 @07:17PM (#44547337)
    At this point, I don't even know why we where clothes while we're out in public. Just think about how many lives could be saved if nobody could hide weapons or anything else illegal under their clothes!

    I mean, I hear a lot of counters to slippery-slope being a fallacy. While that might be true, in theory, it sure seems like in practice, it is all around us, especially when it comes to rights that the culture of the day don't find as important (right to privacy and right to bear arms are the big two in NYC).
  • by gweihir (88907) on Monday August 12, 2013 @07:23PM (#44547391)

    Stop-and-frisk has one aim: Keep certain groups in fear and make sure they do not organize or start defending themselves by strongly implying that they have no rights and that their privacy can be invaded at any time and without any reason. It is a tried and true tactics, optimized by the Nazis and in Stalinism, but created much earlier.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 12, 2013 @08:38PM (#44547967)

      Stop and frisk indeed has one aim: to reduce crime in areas historically high in violent crime. Unlike your innuendo and speculation, I come with facts.

      Firstly, the density and locations of stop and frisk (properly termed terry frisks after ohio v terry, a SCOTUS case that made this legal) fairly accurately map NYCs violent crime locations, particularly their homicides. The same places you're most likely to be terry frisked are also the places where you're most likely to be shot (as guns account for the majority of homicides there). Moreover, statistically speaking, sans grand larceny where the victim is most likely to be white, if you're a victim of basically any crime in NYC, you're probably black, or potentially hispanic. This holds especially true with homicide et cetera, with greater than 50% of the victims being black IIRC. Furthermore, if you're the victim of such a crime, your attacker is generally black.. or hispanic. With blacks making up 61% of the perpetrators of homicides from 2003 to 2011.

          So, stop and frisk occurs largely where the crimes, particularly homicides occur. The target and the perpetrator are statistically black or hispanic. So yes, if you don't consider what legitimate purposes the police might have, it could seem racist. However, once you look at the data, you're pretty much forced to recognize why they seem 'targeted'

      Left is crime rates, darker is more crime. Right is stop and frisk data, notice the correlation:
      http://i.imgur.com/Dztosey.jpg

      The same thing, but looking up towards harlem and the upper east side and such, where we see again the pattern of violent crime and incidence of stop and frisk occurs:
      http://i.imgur.com/nJ6K7z9.png

      Here we have murders plotted out 2003-2011 in NYC by race, blue dots are black perpetrators and gold are hispanic. Again cross-reference this with the stop and frisk data and you'll find the pattern again holds:
      http://i.imgur.com/lpaYmPU.png

      That isnt to say that NYPD isn't biased however, its just not against blacks and hispanics, its against gays. We find that the terry stop data when cross-referenced shows pretty clearly that the places with high volumes of violent crimes, particularly homicides, have high terry stop counts as well, UNLESS you're in an area that also shares a high volume of homosexuality, then the volume of stop and frisks drops:
      http://i.imgur.com/gqmDI3m.png

      So, now that a tyrannous government and racism is obviously not the case, who are you going to blame?

      • by gweihir (88907) on Monday August 12, 2013 @09:00PM (#44548143)

        You have this one very, very wrong. The problems caused are far, far worse than the high murder rate was. Sure, you can suppress crime with enough repression. Totalitarian regimes always sell that as an advantage of living there, and indeed it is. It is about the only advantage though, and the disadvantages are monstrous.

        The problem here is mission-creep. As soon as stop-and-frisk (without anything even resembling due cause or due process) is established, you can escalate. At the end, you have the road-blocks on the corners and needing traveling papers to walk through your city. The police are not the ones to stay sane here, they are not mentally equipped to see that less security is needed to maintain essential freedoms and that trying to fight crime becomes a problem when a certain level of intrusiveness is exceeded. But a police that is focused on suppressing anything and everything, no matter what damage they do by doing it is an ideal tool for a totalitarian regime and hence needs to be avoided at all cost. Who do you think rounded up most of the Jews in Nazi Germany? Ordinary police, that were just not understanding what they are doing and were "just following the law"! Just add a war on "non patriots" or the like to all the stupid wars already going on, and totalitarianism will be well on its way with a large police force well conditioned to support it.

      • As I mentioned in another comment here, Ray Kelly himself said outright that the purpose was to make Those People afraid to leave their homes.

        Nor is it legal under Terry vs. Ohio, which requires articulable facts to justify a stop. Instead, the NYC police have been using "walking furtively" as an excuse.

      • by fafalone (633739) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:03AM (#44549157)
        You're wrong on a couple points. First of all, it's not entirely about stopping violent crimes. If that was the case, it would simply end after a determination that the person didn't have weapons. But in the majority of instances, they rifle through every little thing in your pockets looking for drugs and interrogate you about your activities. Even the small percent of stops that lead to an arrest are overwhelmingly for petty drug possession charges. And further, they wouldn't engage in the despicable tactic of telling people to empty their pockets and then elevating the charge to public display of marijuana, something that continued after Ray Kelly "ordered" them to stop.

        Second, calling them "terry stops" is not accurate. Terry requires them to be able to cite "specific and articulable facts" that give them reasonable suspicion to believe the individual was involved in a crime. Also, Terry limits the search to the outer garments solely for the purpose of checking for weapons for officer safety. As noted above, this is not the case. 780 guns from 685,724 (2011) isn't limiting themselves to this standard.

        Also, the evidence is quite clear that they have quotas on how many of these stops they have to make. How fair do you think an officer struggling not to get reassigned to traffic duty is going to be? Is he really stopping people to help end violent crime?

        And just to add an anecdote, I used to routinely conduct business on a block with one of the highest stop and frisk rates in Manhattan, in East Harlem. But I'm white and clean cut and well dressed. I was never been stopped in over a year of just standing there for 20-30 minutes 3 times a week. And the majority of white people in the neighborhood are there for a particular reason, but I wasn't profiled.
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Monday August 12, 2013 @08:02PM (#44547681) Homepage Journal
    Sorry about that. Our bad. We now return you to your regularly scheduled frisking.
  • by MasseKid (1294554) on Monday August 12, 2013 @08:08PM (#44547725)
    "In 98.5% of the 2.3 million frisks, no weapon was found,"

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