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August 14th, 2013

NAACP applauds court’s ‘stop-and-frisk’ ruling

NEW YORK, NY – The NAACP commends United States District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin for her recent decision regarding the New York Police Department’s racial profiling tactic of "stop-and-frisk".

In Floyd vs. City of New York, Judge Scheindlin ruled that stop-and-frisk violates the constitutional rights of New Yorkers, and said she would appoint an outside lawyer to monitor the NYPD for further violations.

"This is a groundbreaking victory. Judge Scheindlin recognized what the NAACP has been saying for years: the racial profiling tactic of stop-and-frisk has no place in our enlightened society," stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. "We hope that Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly will heed this decision and end their crude and abusive policy. We will continue to stand up with the tens of thousands of New Yorkers who marched with us last June and fight for the protections of the Community Safety Act."

Back on Father’s Day 2012, the NAACP joined with SEIU 1199 and National Action Network to lead a "Silent March to End Stop-and-Frisk" down Fifth Avenue in New York City. The march drew tens of thousands of people from diverse races, ethnicities and religions who were outraged by the stop-and-frisk tactics being used by the New York City Police Department.

"This is a great day for justice and equality in this city," stated New York NAACP President Hazel Dukes. "Our city is leading the way for others to follow. We are grateful to the city council members and those in our coalition who have stood up against this racial profiling policy. We now need those council members who courageously voted for the Community Safety Act to stay strong and override Mayor Bloomberg’s veto."

The New York City Council is currently considering whether to override a veto of the Community Safety Act, a bill that would create an Inspector General for the NYPD and allow victims of stop and frisk to charge police for racial profiling.

"Judge Scheindlin’s decision to appoint an outside lawyer to monitor the NYPD bolsters the need for the Community Safety Act," stated Dr. Niaz Kasravi, Director of the NAACP Criminal Justice Program. "We need an effective policy that bans racial profiling, an independent city agency to oversee the police department, and a legal recourse that empowers victims of racial profiling."

According to the NYCLU, in 2012 the NYPD stopped and interrogated people 532,911 times, a 448% increase in street stops since 2002. Nine out of 10 people stopped were innocent, and about 87% were African-American or Latino. White people accounted for only about 10 percent of stops.

Judge Scheindlin wrote that ‘no person may be stopped because he matches a vague or generalized description - such as male black 18 to 24 - without further detail.’

In 2011, black and Latino men between the ages of 14 and 24 made up less than 5 percent of the city’s total population, but the demographic represented 42 percent of those who were targeted by stop and frisk.

Judge Scheindlin also announced that "In a separate opinion, I will order remedies, including immediate changes to the NYPD’s policies, a joint-remedial process to consider further reforms, and the appointment of an independent monitor to oversee compliance with the remedies ordered in this case."

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