Judge Orders Mayor Bloomberg To Stop Mugging The Constitution

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was explicit in reacting to today's ruling: constitutional rights are just too dangerous to take seriously (especially if you aren't a white person) in New York City. Another way of putting it: Osama bin Laden is still kicking the city's ass, and Bloomberg is helping him.
Stating that New York City’s controversial “stop and frisk” program is a clear infringement of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches, and the Fourteenth Amendment’s protection against unequal treatment under the law, a US District Judge today ordered the city to “reform” the programs while also ordering mass searches by police, especially ones that targeted black and hispanic persons, stopped.

Judge Shira A. Sheindlin, a Clinton appointee, was explicit in her rebuke to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a strong defender of stop and frisk. The judge said the program, as run by the NYPD, offered only a modest improvement in public safety at a high cost in liberty:
“[I]t is ‘clear and plain’ that the public interest in liberty and dignity under the Fourth Amendment, and the public interest in equality under the Fourteenth Amendment, trumps whatever modicum of added safety might theoretically be gained by the NYPD making unconstitutional stops and frisks.”
The judge said a number of times that she was not completely eliminating the stop and frisk practice, but she was ordering the NYPD to employ it in a way that, she said, would be “more proactive” in establishing effective policing, because the police would be forced to recall protecting the liberty of citizens is also one of their jobs.
“This Opinion does not call for the NYPD to abandon proactive policing and return to an earlier era of less effective police practices. Rather, the relief ordered below requires the NYPD to be even more proactive: proactive not only about crime control and prevention, but also about protecting the constitutional rights of the people the NYPD serves. The public interest will not be harmed by a permanent injunction requiring the NYPD to conform its practices to the Constitution.”
This point, about the need for officers of government to give at least, if not more, of their attention to protecting the constitutional rights of citizens as they do to making the job of policing, or surveillance, more convenient, has only rarely been expressed for years now by any of the alleged agents of government oversight.

Judge Sheindlin’s arguments should be taken to heart and mind by every American citizen, and especially by those in government arguing now about whether the massive constitutional infringements being perpetrated by the US federal government in the name of fighting terrorism, shall continue.

For his part, Mayor Bloomberg, utterly rejected Sheindlin’s ruling, saying that the city would appeal, and that the notion of constitutional rights being important was just silly, since infringing those rights was all that was keeping people from being murdered or robbed in New York City:
“People also have a right to walk down the street without being killed or mugged.”
Admitting that constitutional liberty, and even equal rights, cannot be safely practiced in the nation’s largest city is consistent with the view of Bloomberg’s NYC as a police state, run for the benefit of rich white people, who are terrified of the notion of unincarcerated black and hispanic citizens walking free in Gotham.

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