The NYPD’s “stop and frisk” policy is under fire after a U.S. District Judge ruled them unconstitutional. In 3 separate lawsuits all pertaining to this practice, Judge Shira Scheindlin condemned the city’s “deeply troubling apathy towards New Yorkers’ most fundamental constitutional rights.” She ordered the NYPD to cease performing their trespass stops unless they had reasonable suspicion that led them to believe that someone was aboutto commit a crime, was in the process of committing crime or had just committed one.
In these “stop and frisk” encounters, police can stop anyone basically at random, question the individual about where he is going, what he is doing, check the person’s pockets, demand ID and check the person’s criminal history. I’d be surprised if they haven’t added cavity searches to that routine “just in case.”
In 2011, 685,724 people were stopped by police, and nearly 90% of them were found to have no criminal history. But the NYPD and Mayor Bloomberg insist that this policy saves lives and is the reason that New York City’s murder rate is “so low.”
Many public and private apartments in that area have the NYPD monitor the halls of the apartment buildings in order to detain and question anyone who they think is acting suspicious. What started off as a way to combat drug crimes has ended up being a complete harassment to law-abiding residents who just want to be left alone. Residents complain that they can’t even go to work, run errands or come home without being detained, questioned, ID’d, etc. by police wondering “what they’re up to.”
In a video produced by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), one resident interviewed said that she’s more afraid of the police than she is of criminals in her apartment building.
The police and mayor like the policy because it results in a lot of arrests, and an increase in arrests looks good on paper. It makes it look like they’re doing their job and that taxpayers’ money is going to good use.
At what expense though? People there live in an invasive police state where everything they say and do is monitored. They’re figuring out the hard way that they’d rather be free, even with all its risks, than having a false sense of security provided by the state.
The whole idea behind a police state presumably is to prevent crime from happening. That’s why they set up checkpoints or just stop you and ask questions and demand to see your “papers.”
If they really wanted to eradicate crime completely, the way to do it is to force every person to live in his own prison cell and to wear a straight jacket. I guarantee if New York City or any other city were to do that, their crime rates would drop to zero. Residents would be incapable of causing any harm to themselves or anyone else. Then the police department and city officials would laud the program as truly “saving lives” and fighting crime.
That is the logical conclusion of what will happen as the government continues to trample on people’s 4th Amendment rights. Judge Scheindlin was right to label such practices unconstitutional, but a place like New York City that has no respect for the 2nd Amendment makes a police state inevitable.