This has been a week focused on changing laws and changing peoples attitude about race. From Attorney Eric Holder’s Smart on Crime plan, efforts to do away with mandatory sentencing to the ruling that Stop & Frisk is unconstitional. The NPR Article highlights important parts of Judge Scheindlin’s ruling. She focuses on the constitutionality of the stops, the quotas that were given, the lack of detail in the UF 250 form required when stopping individuals, the racial profiling and the pure lack of oversight in executing this law.
Points Judge Scheindlin makes:
1. The law humiliates and embarrasses individuals when stopped.
2. It increases discord between citizens and law enforcement (that already exist), especially Blacks & Latinos.
3. There is not enough explanation for the law and its necessity. Forms filled by police officers performing stops, lack detail and most stops are not part of any active investigation.
4. Police Whistleblowers who have recorded conversations with superiors say they were told that they had to meet quotas, which is illegal.
5. She makes reference to Trayvon Martin and President Obama as it relates to racial profiling.
6. Race played a significant role in stops. There was a disproportionate amount of arrests of Black and Latinos since the tactic was employed in high-crime neighborhoods where Black and Latinos predominate, about 4 million.
The City filed a notice of appeal yesterday. According to Crains Article Mr. Bloomberg stated “There is just no question that stop-question-frisk has saved countless lives. And we know that most of the lives saved, based on the statistics, have been black and Hispanic young men.” I am sure it has and there are statistics to support it, but it has also interrupted countless lives, people have had their equal protection rights violated, we loose confidence in law enforcement, and I can keep going. If the government and law enforcement really want to protect us they would not only listen to their point of view but listen and effectively understand the complaints people have about this law and see some of the harm it has also created.
Let’s wait and see what happens at the appellate level. In the meantime if you have been affected by Stop & Frisk why not write a letter to Mr. Bloomberg stating what happened to you on a stop, send it to Commissioner Kelly too, send it to your legislatures tell them what happened how you felt, put a name on it or don’t but continue to voice your complaint. Send your letters to the attorneys involved in the cases. The pen is always mightier and if formal complaints fall on deaf ears continue to write and send it to the powers that be in an effort to make them listen.