Stop-and-Frisk Ruling: Lines That We Want on T-Shirts

A judge said the practice was unconstitutional. And she said it well. Here are the highlights. 

Second, as reflected in Dr. Fagan’s Table 7, within any area, regardless of its racial composition, blacks and Hispanics are more likely to be stopped than whites.

And even another way of looking at it:

Third, for the period 2004 through 2009, blacks who were subject to law enforcement action following their stop were about 30% more likely than whites to be arrested (as opposed to receiving a summons) after a stop for the same suspected crime, even after controlling for other relevant variables.

Don’t say “but it works.” That has nothing to do with whether it’s constitutional:

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.

Seriously, no one should have to live this way:

While it is true that any one stop is a limited intrusion in duration and deprivation of liberty, each stop is also a demeaning and humiliating experience. No one should live in fear of being stopped whenever he leaves his home to go about the activities of daily life. Those who are routinely subjected to stops are overwhelmingly people of color, and they are justifiably troubled to be singled out when many of them have done nothing to attract the unwanted attention.

And race doesn’t change that:

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.  

Get it? People are individuals. With individual rights, and criminal records (or lack thereof):