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A key aspect of the NYPD’s controversial “stop and frisk” program has been ruled unconstitutional by a New York judge. On Tuesday, the judge ordered the NYPD to halt controversial “stop and frisk” searches outside a privately owned Bronx apartment building without first having reasonable suspicion, saying the method is unconstitutional.
“In sum, while it may be difficult to say where, precisely, to draw the line between constitutional and unconstitutional police encounters, such a line exists, and the NYPD has systematically crossed it when making trespass stops outside TAP buildings in the Bronx,” Judge Shira Scheindlin said.
In addition, the judge also ordered a hearing aimed at addressing inadequacies in the program’s training, supervision and monitoring. She wrote that the “NYPD’s inaccurate training has taught officers the following lesson; stop and question first, develop suspicions later.”
But Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly stood by his tactic, even going so far as to suggest that his intent is to protect the poor.
“Some take for granted the safety provided by doormen who routinely challenge visitors to their apartment buildings. Through ‘Clean Halls,’ the police have worked to provide a modicum of safety for less prosperous tenants,” Kelly said.
Landlords who enroll in the trespass program authorize police to patrol inside their privately owned buildings. Tenants and visitors say this has resulted in people being harassed by police for absolutely no reason.