Thursday, May 17, 2012

Judge grants class action status to lawsuit against NYPD

Source: Press TV

A Federal District Court judge has granted class action status to a lawsuit against New York Police Department (NYPD)’s unconstitutional and racially-discriminatory “stop-and-frisk” tactic.

In her latest 57-page ruling released on Wednesday, US District Judge Shira Scheindlin referred to the tactic as "deeply troubling," adding that there was "overwhelming evidence" of thousands of unlawful stops by the police, The Guardian reported.

Darius Charney, a lawyer for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has filed the lawsuit, said, "The Court has rightly recognized that illegal stops-and-frisks are not limited to a few rogue police officers, but are the product of a program designed at the highest level of the police department and affect hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of New Yorkers.”

The judge announced that a hearing on the case will be held on May 29.

According to the ruling, the class in question will be all "persons stopped or stopped and frisked on the basis of being black or Latino" since January 2005.

It says that the NYPD will punish officers if they do not use the tactic regularly.

The NYPD says it has made over two hundred thousand street stops from January to April this year, almost 25 percent more than last year’s record.

The police and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have defended the tactic, arguing that the policy has led to a historic drop in crime rates and prevented thousands of deaths.

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