From the Jury Box — Thoughts on the Stop-and-Frisk Trial

May. 22, 2013 / By

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New America Media, Commentary, Damaso Reyes

Pictured above: Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit officers from the 28th Precinct conduct a Stop and Frisk in Harlem in 2006. Photograph by Damaso Reyes.

NEW YORK — It was one word that struck me. More than any other word spoken over the past 10 weeks of court testimony in Floyd v. City of New York, the civil trial questioning the New York Police Department’s policy of “Stop, Question and Frisk.”

“No.”

In over 8,000 pages of official court transcripts from the trial that ended on Monday, it is spoken time and time again by sergeants, precinct commanders and current and former high ranking officers within the police department. The question being replied to was a variation on this: “Does it bother you that in the vast majority, nine out of 10 stops, no enforcement action was taken? No summons, no arrest, no weapons found?”

“No.”

This is perhaps the heart of the case that the Center for Constitutional Rights brought to Judge Shira Scheindlin’s courtroom on the 15th floor of the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan. Authorities see no wrongdoing, despite the fact that over the past decade, NYPD officers have conducted nearly 4.5 million stops in a city of 8 million. Eighty-five percent of those stopped were black or Latino, meaning that many people have been stopped more than once.

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