A major element of the oft-debated “frisk and stop” practice has been ruled unconstitutional by Manhattan Judge Shira Scheindlin. Police have been ordered to stop making certain trespassing stops outside of apartment buildings. She believed the tactic crossed the line and needed to be abolished.

"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.

The battle has only just begun because the police and the residents who feel safer will not let it go that easily. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly still believes in the tactic. 

“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.”

Judge Shira Scheindlin made a clear statement and will hold a hearing on Jan 31 to see what else needs to be done to make this right. 

“For those of us who do not fear being stopped as we approach or leave our own homes or those of our friends and family, it is difficult to believe that residents of one of our boroughs live under such a threat.” 

This is a good start but needs to be done to end racial profiling. I'm sure the NYPD will try to find ways around this ruling, so stay tuned and keep your ID on you at all times.