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Stop-and-Frisk Starts Up Again in the Bronx

A judge rules that highly controversial searches outside certain private residential buildings can resume—for now.

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The "unconstitutional" practice will continue
in the Bronx for now. Photo via

By Ben Feuerherd

01/23/13

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A judge has decided that the NYPD can resume a controversial "stop-and-frisk" practice in the Bronx—despite her ruling it unconstitutional earlier this month. District Judge Shira Scheindlin agreed yesterday that the NYPD can continue searching residents of certain privately owned buildings—which enrolled in the New York's Trespass Affidavit Program—without "reasonable suspicion," while the city prepares to appeal her initial decision. Her January 8 ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by a number of black and latino residents challenging stop-and-frisks outside buildings in the city's Trespass Affidavit Program (formerly called "Operation Clean Halls.") The city of New York then appealed, calling that ruling "burdensome" and "inconsistent" with current police training. 

Judge Scheindlin is defending her latest decision: "Allowing a longstanding unconstitutional practice to persist for a few months while the parties present arguments regarding the appropriate scope of a remedy is quite distinct from allowing such a practice to persist until the completion of trial," she says. Heidi Grossman, a lawyer for the city, approves: “We believe the court correctly lifted the immediate relief it had ordered," she tells Bloomberg. However the New York Chapter of the ACLU, which staunchly opposes stop-and-frisk, also sees reason for optimism. “The judge’s ruling today affirmed her very strong criticism of the city’s unconstitutional stop-and-frisk policy," says New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman, "and it may well expedite the final remedy process for dealing with the abuse of stop-and-frisk for all New Yorkers in a more efficient way.” 

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