Is stop and frisk unconstitutional in New York?
After the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at the end of September, you may be wondering about practice of stop and frisk, a very controversial topic during the debate. Is stop and frisk unconstitutional?
Hillary Clinton stated that stop and frisk was unconstitutional, while Donald Trump said that it was not. So which is it? Is stop and frisk unconstitutional in New York?
In 2013, District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ruled that the way stop-and-frisk was carried out by cops was unconstitutional. Basically, the Judge was saying that New York cops were racially profiling individuals, mostly black and Hispanic men, and the act of doing that violated the Constitution, however, the practice of stop-and-frisk in and of itself was not unconstitutional.
Therefore, Hillary Clinton was correct when she stated that stop-and-frisk was found to be unconstitutional in New York, due to the way the practice was carried out, as explained above.
Judge Scheindlin did not order the practice of stop-and-frisk to end. Instead she tried to reform the practice and add remedies to prevent unlawful searches and seizures as well as racial profiling that violated people's Fourth Amendment rights.
Donald Trump's argued at the debate that the practice was not ruled unconstitutional because the case was, as he stated at the debate, "taken away from her [the Judge]". This is true, the case was appealed and sent to a new judge, but then it was denied and then the new city mayor dropped the appeal.
While Hillary Clinton was right about the Judge's order, she was wrong on one point. She stated that part of the reason stop-and-frisk was determined to be unconstitutional was due to its "effectiveness," however, the Judge made it clear that that was not part a reason.
A few facts regarding the practice of stop-and-frisk from the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU):
Does stop and frisk keep the people of New York safer?
"Fact: No research has ever proven the effectiveness of New York City's stop-and-frisk regime, and the small number of arrests, summonses, and guns recovered demonstrates that the practice is ineffective. Crime data also do not support the claim that New York City is safer because of the practice. While violent crimes fell 29 percent in New York City from 2001 to 2010, other large cities experienced larger violent crime declines without relying on stop and frisk abuses: 59 percent in Los Angeles, 56 percent in New Orleans, 49 percent in Dallas, and 37 percent in Baltimore..." (NYCLU)
Was stop and frisk getting guns off the streets of New York City?
"Fact: Guns are found in less than 0.2 percent of stops. That is an unbelievable poor yield rate for such an intrusive, wasteful, and humiliating police action..." (NYCLU)