Federal Judge Rules Stop-and-Frisk in the Bronx Unconstitutional

Judge Shira A. Scheindlin says trespass stops are made without enough "reasonable suspicion." 

Posted: 01/08/2013 02:23 PM EST

A federal judge has ruled that the New York Police Department's use of the stop-and-frisk policy in the Bronx was unconstitutional.

In the case of Ligon vs. the City of New York, the focus was on the Trespass Affidavit Program in the Bronx, which gives police the authority to arrest trespassers in front of residential buildings.

Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ruled that the trespassing stops were being made without enough "reasonable suspicion" of trespassing violations.

The New York Times writes:

"The lawsuit, Ligon v. the City of New York, is one of three related cases involving stop-and-frisk practices before Judge Scheindlin. The broadest reaching case accuses the police of stopping and frisking hundreds of thousands of people a year solely on the basis of race; Judge Scheindlin granted that lawsuit class-action status in May. The third case challenges police stops at public housing projects.

"In the decision released on Tuesday, the judge ordered the police 'to cease performing trespass stops' outside the private buildings in the program unless officers have reasonable suspicion, a legal standard that requires police officers to be acting on more than just a hunch.

"The fact that a person was merely seen entering or leaving a building was not enough to permit the police to stop someone, 'even if the building is located in a high-crime area, and regardless of the time of day,' the judge ruled. Nor was it enough for an officer to conduct a stop simply because the officer had observed the person move furtively, Judge Scheindlin said. (The forms that the police fill out after each street stop offer 'furtive' movements as a basis for the stop)."

To read the entire story, click here.

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(Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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