NEW YORK (AP) — The federal civil rights challenge to the contentious New York Police Department tactic of stop, question and frisk is winding down after more than nine weeks of testimony from men who say they were wrongly stopped because of their race and police officials who believe the nation’s largest force operates with integrity.
City attorney Heidi Grossman said during summations Monday that there is “no indication of racial motivation whatsoever” in the practice.
U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin must eventually examine more than 7,000 pages of trial record and may order major changes to the policy, reforms that could have a nationwide impact on how police departments operate.
More than 5 million stops have been made in New York in the past decade, mostly of black and Hispanic men. Police must have reasonable suspicion to stop someone, a standard lower than probable cause needed to justify an arrest. Only about 10 percent result in arrests.
About a dozen black and Hispanic men told the judge of disturbing and uncomfortable encounters with police that left them feeling confused, angry and scared. One witness, 24-year-old Nicholas Peart from Harlem, wept on the stand as he described how he was handcuffed and put into the back of a squad car. A teenager told how he was stopped walking down the street. In each instance, the witnesses said they could find no basis for the stops other than they were minorities. But many of the officers who did the stopping also explained their legal reasoning.
Lawyers for the men who sued police say officers are making illegal stops in part because they felt pressure from superiors instituting illegal quotas. Some officers testified said they were punished for not making enough stops and were harassed by fellow officers upset they had blown the whistle. Yet others said no quotas existed and they never felt pressure to make a stop.
The trial has provided a rare window into the NYPD, with about a dozen officials testifying on how they do their jobs. Officers are told to stop the “the right people, at the right time in the right location,” a phrase first heard in the early days of the case on a secret recording made by one whistleblower officer during a heated exchange over his performance evaluation. Since then, it has been repeated by nearly every official who testified.
“It’s a tool that needs to be used properly, and as borough commanders you should have adequate checks and balances in place, and you should be looking at them with your staff,” said Deputy Chief James Hall, who is in charge of patrol. “There is a focus on when it is used … right time, right location, you know, right individual.”
Police have said the phrase means the location where crimes have been occurring, at the time they have been occurring, and an individual who matches the description of a crime suspect, or someone who appears about to commit a crime. Lawyers for the men who have sued say, though, that the phrase is code for targeting blacks and Hispanics in poor neighborhoods.
Plaintiffs say a court monitor must be appointed to facilitate changes in training, supervision and the documentation of street stops. An expert for the city testified that the department has already enough checks and balances already in place.
The tactic has become a city flashpoint, with the mayor and police commissioner defending it is a necessary crime-fighting tool, and other city lawmakers calling for major change.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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