Success: Controversial Stop-and-Frisk Policy Weakened


Target: Shira Scheindlin, U.S. Federal Judge

Goal: Praise judge for making stop-and-frisk policy less discriminatory.

New regulations have been put on New York’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy that aim to make it less discriminatory. These regulations come after years of court cases and a Force Change petition. While the practice is sadly not being done away with entirely, police officers are now no longer allowed to make stops based on “furtive movements,” or their being located “in a high crime area.” On paper, these new regulations will go a long way to ensuring that this historically discriminatory practice becomes less about race and neighborhood. Please sign here to commend the new regulations and ensure that they are enforced completely.

Stop-and-frisk was deemed, by a federal court, to be in direct violation of people’s constitutional rights, yet stops still occur frequently in certain areas of New York City. The policy has always been controversial, and for good reason. When race is taken into account, an extremely disproportionate number of those stopped are black or Latino. The number one reason given by police officers for these stops has traditionally been the vague “furtive movements” charge. Now that this is no longer an option, hopefully fewer needless and racially-motivated stops will occur. Also, the regulations make clear that stops made based on the criminality of a neighborhood are no longer acceptable. This can only lead to fewer innocent people are stopped for living in high crime neighborhoods.

The most important part of these new regulations, however, is that officers must have an individualized reason for each stop that they can then intimate and justify. Gone are the days of stopping minorities based on a “hunch” or personal biases. While doing away with stop-and-frisk altogether would be far better, these regulations will at least try to soften the discriminatory edge on this historically racist practice. Please sign here to thank the judge for her ruling and those that created the new regulations.


Dear Justice Shira Scheindlin,

As you have personally ruled, stop-and-frisk policies are unconstitutional and have been known to be historically discriminatory. While the best option would be to do away with this practice altogether, your recent ruling has at least forced new regulations to be put in place that will soften the racist edge that many, rightly, associate with this policy. Disallowing officers from making stops based on “furtive movements” and the neighborhood that they happen to be in will go a long way to ensuring that fewer innocent people are stopped and made to feel like criminals.

Furthermore, requiring officers making stops to give individualized reasons for every stop that can later be intimated and justified will ensure that fewer officers make stops based on “hunches” or personal biases. While not a perfect solution, these regulations will surely protect innocent people if they are enforced correctly. Thank you for attempting to end this great injustice and please continue to fight for justice and equality in all cases.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: longislandwins via Wikimedia Commons

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