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Floyd v. City of New York
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
959 F. Supp. 2d 540 (2013)
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) employed a policy, dubbed the stop-and-frisk policy, that allowed officers to make frequent and widespread Terry stops. Under Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), a police officer was permitted to briefly stop an individual if the officer reasonably suspected the individual was engaged in criminal activity. The officer was permitted to frisk the individual if he reasonably suspected the individual was armed and dangerous. A group of Black and Hispanic individuals who had been stopped pursuant to this policy (plaintiffs) filed a federal class-action lawsuit, claiming that the NYPD had implemented the policy in a racially discriminatory fashion in violation of their rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Evidence presented at trial showed that officers made more stops in areas with large Black and Hispanic populations, that Black and Hispanic individuals were more likely to be stopped by police even in primarily White areas, and that police were more likely to use force during stops of Black and Hispanic individuals than during stops of White individuals. Evidence also showed that the NYPD was warned in 1999 that the stop-and-frisk policy was being conducted in a racially discriminatory manner. Instead of changing the policy, the NYPD pressured its officers to make more stops. Further, the NYPD instructed officers to target "the right people" for stops. This meant to target the demographic groups that most frequently appeared in a precinct's crime complaints, typically young Black and Hispanic men.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Scheindlin, J.)
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