Advocates applaud ruling declaring stop and frisk unconstitutional

8/13/2013, 1 p.m.
With her Monday ruling that New York City’s infamous “stop-and-frisk” policing tactic is unconstitutional, a federal judge may have forever ...

Also a factor were the audio tapes provided by NYPD officer Pedro Serrano, which clearly indicated he was given orders by a white superior officer to target “the right kind of people,” meaning “male blacks 14 to 20, 21.”

And given that Kelly recently remarked that those in that demographic “are being under stopped in relation to the percentage of people being described as being the perpetrators of violent crime,” it was understandable when asked about the mayor’s reaction at the CCR press conference, City Councilman Jumaane Williams responded with a bit of incredulity.

“Mayor Bloomberg often confuses someone disagreeing with him as being unfair,” said the councilman, who pledged that the City Council will vote next week to override Bloomberg’s recent veto of the Community Safety Act, a combination of two bills that would have outlawed racial profiling in the department. The act is still necessary, Williams argued, because the city needs permanent structures in place to deal with profiling “so we don’t have to do this again.”

Expressing similar sentiments were five young men of color who had been witnesses in the trial. Either through their remarks or their shell-shocked behavior behind the microphone on Monday afternoon, witnesses like David Ourlicht made it clear that once was enough. Halted and emotional in his speech, Ourlicht described how he cried upon hearing about the ruling. “Our voices do count,” said witness Nicholas Peart, adding that the entire city–including predominantly white areas, where still the majority of stops were men of color–was involved in the judge’s decision.

The effect of the ruling will be immediately felt in communities throughout New York City, said CCR executive director Vince Warren. “The police department will know that someone is watching them,” Warren said. “There is a change coming.”

“Judge Scheindlin’s ruling is a historic recognition of the NYPD’s entrenched discriminatory practices that have violated the rights of black and Latino New Yorkers for decades,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, Legal Defense Fund’s president and director-counsel. Although the ruling does not abolish the practice of stop and frisk, it mandates major changes in the way the policy is implemented to ensure that police officers do not discriminate when conducting stops. Additionally, Judge Scheindlin has required an independent monitor to supervise the NYPD and input from numerous stakeholders, including members of the community where stops most often take place.