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Thursday, August 15, 2013

NYC officials to appeal federal 'stop and frisk' judgment

NYC officials to appeal federal 'stop and frisk' judgment

New York City officials say they are ready to begin their appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that a controversial NYPD tactic known as “stop and frisk” violates the constitutional rights of blacks and Hispanics. ...

“Crime can come back anytime the criminals think that they’re going to get away with things. We just cannot let that happen,” the mayor said. Over the course of his nearly 12 years leading the city, the New York’s murder rate has fallen by half.

The tactic in question allows police to stop and pat down ("frisk") anyone they deem suspicious. Scheindlin found it was used 4.4 million times between 2004 and 2012, and that 80 percent of the stops were of blacks and Hispanics.

In her ruling, she wrote, “In their zeal to defend a policy that they believe to be effective, they have willfully ignored overwhelming proof that the policy of targeting ‘the right people’ is racially discriminatory and therefore violates the United States Constitution.”

 Guess what?  If the police have "probable cause," they can get a search warrant.  If they don't have a search warrant, they're already violating the US Constitution, specifically the Fourth Amendment, which says:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Note:  "in their persons."

Appealing to fear of crime in an effort to justify the violation of the civil rights and liberties of the people is not only an example of the fallacy of Argumentum ad Passiones (Appeal to Emotion), it's also a favorite tactic of demagogues and authoritarians.  This is America.  Gestapo tactics, Stasi tactics, KGB tactics, NKVD tactics -- none of this is used in free societies.   If this is to continue to be America, the ruling must stand.

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