Virtual State of the Union Address - The Best 7 Minutes on Gun Control I’ve Ever Seen
A trial challenging the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy kicked off Monday. As the department argues the policy’s importance in stopping crime, opponents continue to challenge its constitutionality.
The class-action lawsuit, filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights, is meant to “end racially discriminatory policing,” Vincent Warren, executive director of the group, said at a news conference.
“We’re putting the NYPD on trial, and the stakes are the constitutional rights of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers,” Warren said. Starting Monday, four New Yorkers who were “stopped and frisked” by police will testify about the illegality of the program that they say targeted them based on their race.
David Floyd, Lalit Clarkson, Deon Dennis and David Ourlicht, four black New Yorkers, believe that their rights were routinely violated by the NYPD. They claim that the department imposes quotas upon police, encouraging frequent illegal stops that mostly target blacks and Latinos – a claim that the NYPD denies. But the New York Daily News reports that the prosecution is in possession of audiotapes by a Brooklyn police officer who claims he was sent to a psych ward to discredit accusations he made against the NYPD. Former police officer Adrian Schoolcraft and his commanding officers are expected to take the stand, arguing that the NYPD does in fact enforce quotas.
Police have stopped and searched more than 5 million New Yorkers in the past decade. At least a dozen victims of the stop-and-frisk program will testify throughout the trial, which US District Court Judge Shira Sheindlin expects will last four to six weeks. Cops, lawmakers, constitutional experts and stop-and-frisk victims will all take the stand throughout the trial.
“At stake are the constitutional rights of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who have been illegally stopped,” Warren said. “These are people who are living under a state of siege in their own neighborhoods.”