Judge orders ‘immediate cease’ to NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy in Bronx ‘Clean Halls’ building

by BRUCE GOLDING and CHUCK BENNETT, New York Post  |  published on January 10, 2013

A federal judge today ordered the NYPD to “immediately cease” stopping people outside Bronx apartments enrolled in a voluntary anti-crime program unless cops have “reasonable suspicion of trespass,” but will allow the controversial stop-and-frisk policies to continue with modifications.

In a massive, 157-page decision, Judge Shira Scheindlin said she was “not ordering the abolition or even a reduction” of the city’s “Clean Halls” program, under which landlords can let cops patrol inside privately-owned apartment buildings to crack down on drug dealing and other crimes.

But she said her ruling “is directed squarely at a category of stops lacking reasonable suspicion.”

Plaintiffs in the case, four black and Latino Bronx residents represented by the New York Civil Liberties Union, charged that cops systematically violate people’s rights and target minorities by stopping them outside “Clean Halls” buildings on suspicion of trespassing. It is one of three cases before Scheindlin challenging the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policies.

“In sum, while it may be difficult to say where, precisely, to draw the line between constitutional and unconstitutional police encounters, such a line exists, and the NYPD has systematically crossed it when making trespass stops outside [Clean Halls] buildings in the Bronx,” Scheindlin wrote. “For those of us who do not fear being stopped as we approach or leave our own homes or those of our friends and families, it is difficult to believe that residents of one of our boroughs live under such a threat. In light of the evidence presented at the hearing, however, I am compelled to conclude that this is the case.

Still, Scheindlin did not challenge the effectiveness of stop-and-frisks as a law enforcement tool.

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