Stop-and-Frisk reform delayed in New York
NEW YORK (CMC) – Caribbean American legislators today expressed disappointment over a United States Federal Appeals Court ruling that stops a sweeping set of changes to the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) controversial practice of stopping and frisking blacks and other minorities, including Caribbean nationals.
The appeals court also criticized the trial judge’s conduct and removed her from the case.
“I am extremely disappointed and very concerned with the decision rendered today by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that delays reforms to New York City’s Stop-and-Frisk programme that were ordered by District Court Judge Scheindlin,” said Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, the daughter of a Jamaican immigrant.
She told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that the programme was based on racial profiling.
“Every person in New York City must have has the right to walk the streets of the city in which they reside, or ride the subway or the bus, without the threat of a serious intrusion based on racial profiling, which dehumanizes them and violates their civil rights and civil liberties,” said Clarke, who represents the predominantly Caribbean 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, New York.
“We cannot continue to tell young Latino or African-American men to wait for the equal protection of the law. As the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King explained in “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, wait almost always means never.
“These young men have already waited more than a decade for the freedoms protect by our Constitution. The wait must end now,” she told CMC.
New York City Councilman Jumaane D. Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, who has been very critical of the NYPD’s policy, said being right on an issue in America has “never meant an easy win.
“The stay by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals today has absolutely nothing to do with the positive reforms ordered in the lower court’s ruling or the merits of the case in Floyd vs New York, including the appointment of a federal monitor to end the abuse of Stop and Frisk by the New York Policy Department,” he told CMC.
“Instead, this stay has everything to do with an individual judge’s own conduct, and even that is questionable,” said Williams, who represents the primarily Caribbean 45th Council District in Brooklyn.
“When the merits of the case were heard by the lower court, we won. While this stay is frustrating, when the court hears the merits of the case again, there is no doubt that we will win again.”
Williams, however, said that with the ruling continues “to be put into a state of confusion over the status of stop-and-frisk, and whether the approach used by the NYPD, which has led to hundreds of thousands of innocent New York City residents being unconstitutionally stopped and frisked, will continue.
“The people of New York City must have full confidence that their constitutional rights will not be violated under stop-and-frisk,” he said, noting that even with the stay, the New York Community Safety Act, will soon be enacted.
He said it would help protect New York City residents against the violation of their “basic civil right and liberties”.
Williams said he would establish an independent inspector general to oversee the use of stop-and-frisk and enable residents to have violations of stop-and-frisk heard in a court of law.