Tag Archives: NYPD

Judge Shira Scheindlin slapped in the face

The decision by a three judge federal appeals court stopping changes to the New York City Police Department’s stop, question, and frisk policy was bad enough. In doing so, they also questioned the integrity of the judge who ruled the policy as practiced by the NYPD was unconstitutional. Judge Shira Scheindlin gave hope to people of color in the city who rightly felt their rights were violated by being stopped when they had done nothing wrong. That hope is now seriously at risk.

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The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit took the unusual step of removing Judge Scheindlin from the case altogether. Their rationale? The court said she’d compromised the “appearance of impartiality” surrounding the lawsuit aimed at curbing the excesses of stop and frisk. Those excesses are many, and while the appeals court said their action wasn’t a comment on the merits of the lawsuit, it’s hard to look at it as something different.

The cold hard facts are these. Stop and frisk rose geometrically under the tenure of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It reached its apex at more than three quarters of a million people stopped in a single year. The overwhelming majority of those stopped were people of color. The overwhelming majority of those were innocent of any wrongdoing.

The city’s argument has been that the tactic is crucial to lowering the crime rate. Yet so far this year, the number of stop and frisks has fallen, and so has the crime rate. In arguments earlier this week before the appeals court, the city asserted that police were now afraid to use stop and frisk for fear of violating the constitution.

This is laughable.

The NYPD has a justifiable reputation as one of the best in the country. The idea that people’s rights have to be violated in order for them to do their job is absurd. The appeals court seems to be saying that a judge whose opinion was formed during the course of the case and said so isn’t worth hearing it.

Should people take the appeals court at its word when it says it hasn’t made up its mind on the substance of the appeal of Judge Scheindlin’s ruling? In the meantime, in addition to assigning the appeal to another judge, the substance of her order on stop and frisk has been stayed.

Does that make innocent New Yorkers of color feel better? It shouldn’t.

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NYPD Racism, Courtesy of Facebook

 

If there’s one story that’s made the blood of New Yorkers boil this week, it’s the one about the NYPD and the West Indian American Day parade.

 

Let’s be clear. New York has parades all through the year (except the dead of winter) in all five boros of this great city.

Yet the racist, vile, offensive language some cops allegedly used in connection with the annual march down Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway is unique.

A Facebook group that includes stuff like “savages” and “animals” in reference to revellers? Yes, people have the right to their opinion.

That opinion, however, takes on an added significance when the person carries a gun and is charged with protecting the safety of the people they disparage. This group grew to include 1200 users, not all of whom may have been police officers. Yet a forum that could easily have been used to vent about having to work on Labor Day turned into something much uglier.

It ought to be pointed out that the attitudes expressed about the West Indian Day parade seem to be similar to those held by some (not all) cops about Occupy Wall Street.

If that’s true, and, as a listener pointed out, it stems from an imperial arrogance and superiority complex on the part of some cops, it’s dangerous. The recent spate of police excess, from cuffing a city councilman at this year’s parade, to alleged ticket fixiing, gun running, arresting journalists trying to cover a story, and drug planting on innocent people would seem to indicate a segment of the department out of control. Yet there’s little appetite on the part of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly or Mayor Michael Bloomberg to even acknowledtge a problem exists.

The people of New York City deserve better, whether they’re protesting in Lower Manhattan or marching down Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. The feeble excuse that cops feel themselves in danger policing the carnival parade simply won’t wash.

 

The NYPD, all 34,000 of them, have the right to an opinion about their job.

 

It must be pointed out, however, that people across America have lost jobs and even been subject to arrest over stuff they post on Facebook. The cops who posted to that now defunct Facebook group should find another line of work.


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