Federal Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ruled that the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk practices violated the constitutional rights of minorities in New York by subjecting them to being profiled.
It doesn't necessarily indicate there's going to be a change in the tactic that authorities contend has reduced crime in dangerous neighborhoods over the years.
The people in these communities even realize the need for heavy policing in the streets. Despite the contentious relationship between minorities and the police, neighborhoods in general want to be policed. No one wants rampid crime right next to where they lay their heads.
It becomes a problem when cops become bullies of people who are not actual criminal suspects, which suggests that to them, all the folks in the neighborhood look alike and anyone could be suspicious.
The New York Times interviewed residents from the Brownsville and Langston Hughes Houses for perspective on police relations with the community.
“We all want security, but we don’t want security by treading on your constitutional rights,” said Winston Cooper, 62, who told of being stopped about eight times, sometimes just for re-entering his building. “I would understand if there’s a genuine thing — that’s cool,” he added. “But don’t tell me every night, people are coming in, needing to be stopped.”
“It’s what’s instilled in the cops,” 38-year-old Steve Doughty said. “They just have this instilled racism in them.”
“They’ve been talking about the stop-and-frisk thing for five, six, seven years and nothing’s changed,” said Gregory Campbell, 41. “They just say it, say it, say it, but the cops come out here and keep doing it. It’s going to take a lot more than just talk."
“The judge is in the chamber,” said Demetrius Denson, 35. He said that though officers might be instructed to use less force or stop fewer people, officers could sidestep any new rules by provoking people on the street into acting nervously or suspiciously.