The highly publicized and highly criticized “stop and frisk” policy of the NYPD appears to be nearing its end if a Federal District Judge's comments are to be taken as evidence that the policy will not be ruled constitutional.
“A lot of people are being frisked or searched on suspicion of having a gun and nobody has a gun,” Judge Scheindlin said, concluding two months of arguments for and against "stop and frisk."
The judge also took issue with the large disparity in stops to arrests. Per the New York Times :
Observing that only about 12 percent of police stops resulted in an arrest or summons, Judge Scheindlin, who is hearing the case without a jury, focused her remarks on Monday on the other 88 percent of stops, in which the police did not find evidence of criminality after a stop. She characterized that as “a high error rate” and remarked to a lawyer representing the city, “You reasonably suspect something and you’re wrong 90 percent of the time.”
“That is a lot of misjudgment of suspicion,” Judge Scheindlin said, suggesting officers were wrongly interpreting innocent behavior as suspicious.
The issue of racial bias in the stops, which brought a lot of attention to the policy in the first place, wasn't completely addressed as it became impossible to determine police officers' motivations for stopping people. Still, the statistics show that 85 percent of people stopped have been minorities, and that is a pressing issue.
Judge Scheindlin will decide the case in the upcoming months, but it appears "stop and frisk" may be on its way out.