Atlantic.com: 'Stop and Frisk' May Be Working—But Is It Racist? by Jesse Alejandro Cottrell:
New York's policy might indeed be reducing gun violence. But residents aren't sure it's worth the cost.
"I just got stopped like two blocks ago," said a frustrated Harlem teenager to the two police officers who approached him.
This is the first recorded audio of a New York City "stop and frisk" recorded surreptitiously by a 16-year-old brown-skinned high schooler identified only as "Alvin." Soon after, the encounter escalates into shouting.
"Why are you carrying an empty book bag?" the police ask Alvin.
"Because I had my hoodie in there. It was cold."
"You want me to smack you?"
"Why you gonna smack me?"
"Who the fuck do you think you're talking to? Shut your fucking mouth."
Quick clicks of tightening handcuffs are heard on the recording as Alvin frantically asks, "What am I getting arrested for?"
One of the policemen responds, "For being a fucking mutt."
"That's against the law, being a mutt?" Alvin asks.
"I will break your fucking arm off right now," the policeman answers.
The recording, which surfaced earlier this year on The Nation's website, enraged civil rights activists already demanding the overhaul of Stop and Frisk, a New York City Police Department program that has led to the stops and searches of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, most of whom are black or Latino, every year.
Defendant was handcuffed and in a police interrogation room when he asked to talk to his family alone. Police let him, but the recording was still being made. There was no reasonable expectation of privacy in the police interrogation room merely from the intimate family conversation. The police did nothing to make defendant think there was any privacy other than letting them in without a chaperone. Georgia already held that conversations in the back of a police car have no reasonable expectation of privacy. Rashid v. State, 2013 Ga. LEXIS 63 (January 22, 2013).
Exigent circumstances supported police entry into a hotel room with a manager’s key where a “visibly upset woman” reported a rape in the room by a foreign visitor whom the police feared might flee if they took the time to get a warrant, even a telephonic warrant, because they had no information on the man other than a first name. People v Green, 2013 NY Slip Op 295, 104 A.D.3d 12, 958 N.Y.S.2d 138 (1st Dept. 2013):
Finally, we reject defendant's argument that his suppression motion should have been granted. The warrantless entry into his hotel room was justified by exigent circumstances (see People v McBride, 14 NY3d 440, 445-446 , ...). A visibly upset woman informed the police that she had just been raped and that the foreign visitor who had raped her, and whom she knew only by his first name, was staying in the hotel room. The police had probable cause to arrest defendant for a very serious charge, and they had reason to believe that he was still in the hotel room2. [2 At trial, defendant was acquitted of the rape charge.] Regardless of whether defendant was aware that he was about to be arrested, there was a danger that he might choose to flee (see People v Williams, 181 AD2d 474, 476 , lv denied 79 NY2d 1055 ), or might simply check out of the hotel and return to his native country, rendering him nearly impossible to locate given the lack of pedigree information. Similarly, there was reason to believe that a drug used in commission of the alleged rape was in the room, and that defendant might dispose of it either to destroy evidence or for some other reason.
Additionally, the officers entered the hotel room peaceably, using the manager's key, and the record does not establish that it would have been practical for the police to proceed by way of a warrant, by telephone or otherwise (see United States v Malik, 642 F Supp 1009, 1012 [SD NY 1986]). After the police entered, defendant gave his written consent to a search of the room, which yielded evidence relating to the reckless endangerment charge of which defendant was ultimately convicted. The People established the voluntariness of that consent by clear and convincing evidence (see generally People v Gonzalez, 39 NY2d 122, 128-131 ), including evidence that the police informed defendant that he had the right to refuse to consent to a search. The record also supports the hearing court's finding that the consensual search was attenuated from any illegality in the police entry.
NYLJ: Judge Stays Decision Halting Suspicionless Trespass Stops by Mark Hamblett:
A federal judge has stayed, pending appeal, her ruling directing the New York City Police Department to halt suspicionless stops for trespass of people at Bronx buildings whose owners have enlisted in a patrol program. Southern District Judge Shira Scheindlin (See Profile) on Jan. 8 held in the putative class action Ligon v. City of New York, 12 civ. 2274, that officers are violating the Fourth Amendment rights of residents and visitors in buildings that take part in the NYPD's Trespass Affidavit Program (NYLJ Jan. 9). She issued an injunction against the practice but postponed ordering relief, deciding instead to consolidate consideration of relief pending a March trial in a class action alleging widespread violations of the Fourth Amendment in stop-and-frisk policies on city streets in Floyd v. City of New York, 08 Civ. 1034.
Law.com, Fulton Daily Report: City pushes back on suit over public strip search by R. Robin McDonald:
The city of Atlanta has paid more than $750,000 in damages to eight people who since 2007 have been subjected by Atlanta police to public body cavity and strip searches on city streets.
But the city is pushing back against a ninth complaint—a federal suit by a city worker who claims as many as five officers with the police department's disbanded Red Dog unit stopped him without cause on a city street in Atlanta's West End three years ago, yanked down his pants, and groped his genitals in a fruitless search for illegal drugs. ...
But attorneys for Ricky Sampson, who works for the Atlanta Department of Watershed Management, argue that Sampson is just one more victim of heavy-handed, and often unconstitutional, tactics that city police have employed for years and that have shown little sign of abating despite a string of lawsuits that have successfully challenged humiliating police searches of civilians on city streets and other public venues.
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"If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. It isn't, and they don't."
"Love work; hate mastery over others; and avoid intimacy with the government."
—Shemaya, in the Thalmud
"A system of law that not only makes certain conduct criminal, but also lays
down rules for the conduct of the authorities, often becomes complex in its
application to individual cases, and will from time to time produce imperfect
results, especially if one's attention is confined to the particular case at
bar. Some criminals do go free because of the necessity of keeping
government and its servants in their place. That is one of the costs of having
and enforcing a Bill of Rights. This country is built on the assumption that
the cost is worth paying, and that in the long run we are all both freer and
safer if the Constitution is strictly enforced."
—Williams v. Nix, 700 F. 2d 1164, 1173 (8th Cir. 1983) (Richard Sheppard Arnold, J.), rev'd Nix v. Williams, 467 US. 431 (1984).
"The criminal goes free, if he must, but it is the law that sets him free. Nothing
can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws,
or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence."
—Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 659 (1961).
Any costs the exclusionary rule are costs imposed directly by the Fourth Amendment.
—Yale Kamisar, 86 Mich.L.Rev. 1, 36 n. 151 (1987).
"There have been powerful hydraulic pressures throughout our history that
bear heavily on the Court to water down constitutional guarantees and give the
police the upper hand. That hydraulic pressure has probably never been greater
than it is today."
— Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 39 (1968) (Douglas, J., dissenting).
"The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their
—Entick v. Carrington, 19 How.St.Tr. 1029, 1066, 95 Eng. Rep. 807 (C.P. 1765)
"It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have
frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people. And
so, while we are concerned here with a shabby defrauder, we must deal with his
case in the context of what are really the great themes expressed by the Fourth
—United States v. Rabinowitz, 339 U.S. 56, 69 (1950) (Frankfurter, J., dissenting)
"The course of true law pertaining to searches and seizures, as enunciated
here, has not–to put it mildly–run smooth."
—Chapman v. United States, 365 U.S. 610, 618 (1961) (Frankfurter, J., concurring).
"A search is a search, even if it happens to disclose nothing but the
bottom of a turntable."
—Arizona v. Hicks, 480 U.S. 321, 325 (1987)
"For the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places. What a person knowingly
exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth
Amendment protection. ... But what he seeks to preserve as private, even in
an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected."
—Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967)
“Experience should teach us to be most on guard to
protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born
to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded
rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men
of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”
—United States v. Olmstead, 277 U.S. 438, 479 (1925) (Brandeis, J., dissenting)
“Liberty—the freedom from unwarranted
intrusion by government—is as easily lost through insistent nibbles by
government officials who seek to do their jobs too well as by those whose purpose
it is to oppress; the piranha can be as deadly as the shark.”
—United States v. $124,570, 873 F.2d 1240, 1246 (9th Cir. 1989)
"You can't always get what you want /
But if you try sometimes / You just might find / You get what you need."
—Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
"In Germany, they first came for the communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for
the Catholics and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Catholic. Then they came
for me–and by that time there was nobody left to speak up."
—Martin Niemöller (1945) [he served seven years in a concentration camp]
“You know, most men would get discouraged by
now. Fortunately for you, I am not most men!”
—Pepé Le Pew
"There is never enough time, unless you are serving it."
"The point of the Fourth Amendment, which often is not grasped by zealous officers, is not that it denies law enforcement the support of the usual inferences which reasonable men draw from evidence. Its protection consists in requiring that those inferences be drawn by a neutral and detached magistrate instead of being judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime."
—Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 13-14 (1948)