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Court Decision Allows For Stop-and-Frisk Lawsuits

Ruling clears the way for potentially thousands of recipients of controversial police techniques to find redress in the justice system.

A court ruling Wednesday by a Brooklyn Federal Court judge has allowed for the broadening of lawsuits brought against the New York Police Department for the use of stop-and-frisk techniques.

The ruling by Judge Shira Scheindlin clears the way for class action lawsuits potentially involving thousands of people on the receiving end of the controversial police stops throughout the five boroughs.

Council member Jumaane Williams, D- Ditmas Park, has been a fierce critic against a NYPD tactic he said disproportionately targets young black and Latino men.

in a statement released Tuesday, and spoke out against Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg for their "absence of leadership for this city," noting that young black and Latino men suffer every day as a result. 

"The Commissioner and the Mayor are fighting against the present and the future of this city, who recognize that public safety can be improved without infringing on civil liberties," Williams continued. "They are firmly in the past."

But Sergeant Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA), argued that "stop-and-frisk" , and instead communication between the police and communities needs to improve. 

"[The practice] has been productive over the history of 'Stop-and-Frisk' in reducing crime," Mullins said. "What no one seems to be writing is that police are stopping individuals whose descriptions match complaints."

The New York Civil Liberties Union released a report last year showing that the NYPD stopped and interrogated people 684,330 times in 2011, the highest total in the practice's recorded history. 87 percent of those stops involved blacks and Latinos.


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