(INTELLIHUB) — The NYPD’s stop and frisk policy has been violating the rights of millions of people for years now, but recently with new media attention, opposition to this practice has been growing.
Just in the past few days massive protests have continued to build in the Brooklyn area, in response to the highly suspicious death of young Kimani Gray, who was killed by NYPD officers.
Police have arrested a large number of peaceful protesters, and have put areas of New York on total lock down, even preventing the media from entering certain areas.
In the midst of this recent controversy a class action lawsuit against the NYPD is scheduled to begin, specifically regarding the stop and frisk policy.
The city is facing the most comprehensive legal challenge to the NYPD’s stop, question and frisk tactic starting Monday. A federal, class action suit will challenge the practice on the basis it is unconstitutional. The constitutionality of a large number of street stops will be examined during the course of the trial, in part, because plaintiffs allege they’re being targeted illegally.
The NYPD has made about 5 million stops over the past decade. The vast majority of those who have been stopped are black and Hispanic. Twenty-five-year-old East Village resident David Ourlicht is one of the plaintiffs in the case. He’ll be testifying about several encounters he’s had with officers. He said he hopes the police reforms the trial is seeking will make city life less restrictive for young men of color like him.
“I don’t want to have to worry about going outside or about the people who are supposed to protect me. I want to stop fearing the people who are supposed to protect and serve me,” Ourlicht said. He estimates he’s been stopped and frisked about 15 times over the past 10 years, including one incident in East Harlem where he was instructed to lay face down on the sidewalk while officers had their weapons drawn.
The case will be heard by U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin, who has said in earlier rulings that she’s deeply concerned about stop and frisk. She is not being asked to ban the tactic since it has been found to be legal.
“The police department has shown repeatedly over the last decade and half that on its own, it’s not going to make the changes necessary,” said lead attorney Darius Charney of the Center for Constitutional Rights. “Either they say we don’t need to change anything or they make changes that are really just window dressing,” he said.
As of yesterday the number of protests in Brooklyn were growing despite a mainstream media blackout, and paramilitary police were sent in response. dev-test.intellihub.com will continue to bring updates on the recent protests against NYPD police brutality, and other details about the stop and frisk class action lawsuit.
(Photo: Getty Images)
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J.G. Vibes is the author of an 87 chapter counter-culture textbook called Alchemy of the Modern Renaissance, a staff writer, reporter for dev-test.intellihub.com and Executive Producer of the Bob Tuskin Radio Show. You can keep up with his work, which includes free podcasts, free e-books & free audiobooks at his website www.aotmr.com