Bring On the Stop-and-Frisk Lawsuits!

Soon residents may be stopping and frisking the city's finance department employees.Credit: World Bank Photo Collection / Foter / CC BY-NC-NDNow that courts have ruled that New York City's stop-and-frisk search methods unconstitutional, and its City Council has given its residents the stamp-of-approval to sue (overruling a veto from Mayor Michael Bloomberg), here come the lawyers. From the New York Daily News:

A legally blind black man busted three years ago in Harlem became the first stop-and-frisk target to sue the city for false arrest since a federal court ruling against the practice.

Allen Moye, 54, alleged the NYPD arrested him on bogus charges as he waited for a friend on a street corner in September 2010.

“It was racial profiling, what they did,” Moye said Thursday. “... It’s a different Jim Crow. They try to put everybody behind bars to do their work.”

His lawsuit specifically cites Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin's decision as indicative of the NYPD’s disregard for the rights of minorities.

Moye claims he was detained by police for complaining about his stop. The story notes that he was charged with five counts of credit card forgery that were later dropped. His lawsuit claims the charges were fabricated to create evidence against him.

Given how many innocent people were caught up in this program, you have to wonder how many more lawsuits just like this one are coming down the line. The City taxpayers of New York may end up taking it on the chin with a bunch of settlements.

Remember how the mayor and Police Commissioner Ray Kelley said ending stop-and-frisk would result in a spike in crime? So, this week police statistics showed that stop-and-frisk searches have dropped more than 50 percent for the second quarter of this year. Yet violent crime in New York is still lower than it was during this same time last year. Without breaking stride, Bloomberg turned it around and said that this is still somehow proof that stop-and-frisk is effective. From the Associated Press:

"It's been going down because it's been effective" at lowering crime, so fewer stops are needed, Bloomberg said after an unrelated news conference Wednesday.

Now that takes some balls.

Below, Reason TV on the constitutional issues of stop-and-frisk:

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The City taxpayers of New York may end up taking it on the chin with a bunch of settlements.

    Prediction: None of that will put a dent in the policy. (Regardless of who wins the mayorship.)

  • ||

    The City taxpayers of New York may end up taking it on the chin with a bunch of settlements.

    Fuck the taxpayers. You elect and reelect an authoritarian douchebag, you deserve it.

    Same goes for lawsuits regarding pigs. I say we need more lawsuits. Assume a city won't control it pig, there are lawsuits with huge payouts, and taxes rise accordingly. Sooner or later, people will react rationally to such a state of affairs. "Fuck no I don't want to move to New York, the pigs are allowed to fuck with you at will and the taxes are outrageous."

  • Rhywun||

    Sooner or later? The middle class moved out of NYC decades ago. Everyone left either pays no taxes or is rich enough to deal with it.

  • ||

    So people who specifically voted against Bloomberg should pay too? Thanks for being a collectivist guilting asshole.

    I like how New York brings out the collectivist in so many supposed "individualists". At least you show your true colors when prodded with the right fodder.

  • Almanian!||

    I KNEW this was coming...!

    GO EPI!

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Failure has its price and elections have consequences. We're all being made to pay because 25-30% of America decided that Hopey McChangey would make a good President.

  • some guy||

    Your decision to live in NYC is tacit approval or something.

    \progtard

  • sgs||

    "So people who specifically voted against Bloomberg should pay too? "

    No you stupid fuck, they should move.

  • Andrew S.||

    I hope these lawsuits bankrupt the city. Moreover, I hope Bloomberg trips over a police officer and falls in front of a city bus.

  • UnCivilServant||

    Poor bus, it will never get the stench of Nanny Bloomers out of its grille.

  • Who||

    I share your dream.

  • Art Vandelay||

    Way too quick.

    I hope he gets trapped underneath the Chinatown subway stop, and is eaten by giant rats.

  • ||

    I hope Bloomberg gets stopped, frisked, and arrested on trumped up charges.

  • Jake W||

    I hope to win the lottery. Without even buying a ticket.

  • John||

    I can't see how this policy isn't unlawful, especially given the NYPD's and Bloomburg's statements about it. They admit that they are not doing this for safety but doing it to find weapons and drugs. Terry doesn't allow that. It allows searches when circumstances require it for officer safety. They have given away their case.

  • tarran||

    "Your honor,

    The mayor's public pronouncements in no way reflect the administration's true purpose in implementing the policy and were advertising to sell the product. Just as Doritos' 'Crunch all you want; we'll just make more' campaign is not a literal promise to manufacture Doritos in perpetuity, the mayor's public pronouncements are not intended to be taken literally."

  • some guy||

    This is like a smaller, stupider version of the Obamacare penal-tax BS.

  • Pro Libertate||

    We so desperately need an anti-government. BuSab, the Censor, whatever, that has the sole function of taking down the corrupt, the abusers of power, the unconstitutional.

  • Metazoan||

    I've been wondering about this for some time. Could we have a permanent special prosecutor and special police force that only has the power to prosecute government officials and (regular) law enforcement?

  • R C Dean||

    Could we have a permanent special prosecutor and special police force that only has the power to prosecute government officials and (regular) law enforcement?

    A functional, competent, ethical DOJ should fulfill that purpose nicely.

    Look! A unicorn!

  • John||

    We could just enforce the laws. Bloomburg ordered a policy that was clearly illegal. He should lose his immunity and be personally liable for all of these cases. Let these people sue Bloomberg into poverty and a lot of our problems would solve themselves.

  • Pro Libertate||

    No, the officials in government have shown a general collective willingness over the years to usurp power.

    I think that's one of the missing links in our Constitution. A Censor/permanent special prosecutor/BuSab could be corrupted and would need checks as well, but it has to be an improvement over what we have today. We're clearly walking right towards tyranny right now.

    When the Roman Republic began to unravel, one of the early offices to be affected was the censor. When the censors had power, they had the ability to check corruption, yanking the corrupt and the abusive out of office. That failed, too, of course, but the Roman system had more endemic flaws than ours, largely because we build ours to avoid their mistakes.

  • ||

    ProL wants the government to check the government. It's hilarious. Oh wait, no it isn't, it's absurd. Why don't you rethink this, ProL?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, your solution is sooooo practical. Go back to your cave, Captain Anarchy.

    No, I'm not at all bitter about being at work while everyone else is partying it up, why do you ask?

  • Pro Libertate||

    In all seriousness, I think the only way this kind of check could possibly work for any amount of time is to place it "outside" government. Constitutionally recognized, but not part of the government itself.

  • Aresen||

    Maybe instituting "Tribunes of the People" with the power to veto prosecutions or laws.

    Decisions of the Tribunes could only be appealed to a joint Tribunician/SCOTUS Council.

    I'd suggest a 10 year term with no possibility of re-election and any person sworn in as tribune had to forfeit the right to run for any political or appointed office ever again.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Tribunes, censors, ostracism, tar, feathers--we have many options. Why not all of the above?

  • sarcasmic||

    We could just enforce the laws.

    Who do you call when the cops are breaking the law? The cops?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Cop-cops.

  • some guy||

    You're supposed to call the FBI.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    How about when Whitey Bulger or any of the lesser criminals on the FBI's untouchable list is breaking the law?

  • Average Dude||

    Now that takes some balls.

    Sorry Scott, not balls. Just pure arrogance, ignorance and stupidity.

  • Tonio||

    City Council has given its residents the stamp-of-approval to sue...

    How very nice of them. IANAL, but I don't think that cities, counties or even states can prevent citizens from filing suits against them in federal courts. Local/state courts are another matter.

  • John||

    They can't. They could if states hadn't waived sovereign immunity. But every state has in the form of a state tort claims act. But those acts require you to file a claim with the state or city first. Then when they turn you down you can sue.

  • Almanian!||

    sue the city for false arrest

    Oh, no - you truly were arrested.

    Maybe sue for...improper arrest? Wrongful arrest? Unconstitutional arrest.

    Whatever. Fuck 'em. I wish Bloomie had to pay the settlements with his own money (yes, even though we know he blows that much on the light bill each month - it's the principle)

  • Firstname||

    Bloomberg: "How dare they take away one of our major weapons to control our slaves ... I mean citizens."

  • Azathoth!!||

    Well..

    Remember how the mayor and Police Commissioner Ray Kelley said ending stop-and-frisk would result in a spike in crime?

    It might. If it was announced that the policy was being ended.

    So, this week police statistics showed that stop-and-frisk searches have dropped more than 50 percent for the second quarter of this year. Yet violent crime in New York is still lower than it was during this same time last year. Without breaking stride, Bloomberg turned it around and said that this is still somehow proof that stop-and-frisk is effective.

    Duh. If the policy worked, one of the things you'd want it to be effective at would be getting people to know that the cops will stop anyone who's 'acting suspiciously'. Once people know that, less people will act suspiciously, so fewer stops are made.

    If that is what's happening, and crime is staying down, then it's working.

    "It's been going down because it's been effective" at lowering crime, so fewer stops are needed, Bloomberg said after an unrelated news conference Wednesday.

    Now that takes some balls.

    No. Just a bit of clear thinking.

    New York is showing the 'peace' of the police state. It's very real. This level of intimidation works. It becomes popular when used in this way--when it's aimed at criminals. Look, Bloomberg can say, the State IS protecting you. No need for guns. They'll welcome the peace, the order. And people, even people who really should know better, will forget to say 'never again'

  • sarcasmic||

    Reminds me of stories after the second invasion of Iraq where people were lamenting about the good 'ol days when they could walk around the park at night and not have to worry about being mugged because the police who checked their papers every hundred feet or so kept them safe.

  • R C Dean||

    It becomes popular when used in this way--when it's aimed at criminals.

    Which S & F isn't.

  • Invisible Finger||

    "It's been going down because it's been effective" at lowering crime,

    If you count stop & frisk as the crime it is, then crime has been increasing, not lowering.

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