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May 22, 2013

NYPD's Stop-And-Frisk policy is wrong 90% of the time, is probably super unconstitutional

NYPD Stops of (Mostly) People of Color Wrong 90 Percent of the Time: 'High Error Rate,' Judge Says | Alternet
On Monday, the major class-action lawsuit Floyd v. the City of New York challenging the NYPD's "stop-and-frisk" policy wrapped up after more than two months of testimony. Plaintiffs allege that the NYPD has routinely and systematically violated the 4th and 14th Amendment rights of New Yorkers stopped and sometimes frisked because of their race. "They laid siege to black and Latino neighborhoods over the last eight years ... making people of color afraid to leave their homes," Gretchen Hoff Varner, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said Monday. Reasonable suspicion that a person is about to, or has committed a crime is the legal prerequisite for a stop. But nine-tenths of stops have not resulted in any further law enforcement enforcement activity, like an arrest or a summons. “What troubles me is the fact that the suspicion seems to be wrong 90 percent of the time,” presiding judge Shira Scheindlin said during closing arguments. “That’s a high error rate.” In addition, 85% of people stopped are black or Latino, which plaintiffs say is further evidence of racial motivation. They also allege that quotas the NYPD has described as "performance standards" for "proactive policing" encourage officers to make unconstitutional stops based on race.

May 17, 2013

I live in the robbery capital of America

And it wasn't even a squeaker. We beat Cleveland by 36%! WE'RE NUMBER ONE! WE'RE NUMBER ONE! There's two great reasons for our staggeringly bad robbery stats. First the Oakland PD has basically no one assigned to investigating robberies. Seriously. This is a thing they were smashed for last week when the Feds released their report damning the police here. The Feds oversee the Oakland PD because of Oakland's amazing history of massive police corruption. The second reason is that our mayor, Jean Quan, kicked off her first term in office by focusing most of the police power on 100 blocks, mostly in East Oakland. They announced this. They even pointed out which blocks would get intense police scrutiny. So do you know what people did who were robbing folks in those 100 blocks? They moved. But the cops didn't. Response times for robberies--even when the robber was in a home with a citizen--were at least 45 minutes, if not 16 hours. It'd be laughable if it wasn't so awful. Oakland Has More Robberies Than Any City In America
On the heels of the Oakland Police Department's worst week in recent years comes more disheartening news -- the East Bay city has more robberies than any other place in the nation. According to an analysis by the Oakland Tribune, one in every 91 residents was the victim of a robbery last year. "That not only was the city's highest robbery rate in two decades, it was the highest of any major American city since 2000," the newspaper's report read. Oakland's rate is 36 percent higher than America's second most robbery-plagued city, Cleveland, and double that of nearby Richmond. Local police say a demand for black market cellphones has fueled the trend. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan called the situation "completely unacceptable" and is seeking more police to address the issue. But many locals don't think officers are the answer. "The police we have aren't getting these robbers off the streets," Oakland Local noted. . . . Meanwhile, a disturbing report uncovered staggering inefficiencies within the department, including one part-time investigator assigned to handle 10,000 burglaries over the course of a year.

May 15, 2013

Judge tosses out manslaughter charges against NYPD officer who killed teen over procedural wrinkle

Because of an error with regards to the jury instructions, the case was tossed out. It *could* be brought to trial however. Judge tosses out manslaughter charges against NYPD officer who killed teen | World news | guardian.co.uk
A judge has dismissed manslaughter charges against a New York City police officer who shot dead an unarmed teenage boy in his bathroom. Bronx supreme court justice Steven L Barrett said the Bronx district attorney's office failed to properly instruct members of a grand jury in considering allegations against officer Richard Haste for his role in the death in 2012 of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham. "With no great pleasure, I am obliged in this case to dismiss the charges," Barrett said in an emotional hearing Wednesday morning, according to the news website DNAInfo. He made it clear that the dismissal was because of a failure to follow procedure, not because of the evidence. "This is not a case where there is insufficient evidence," the judge said. The charges against Haste were the first of a NYPD officer relating to a fatal shooting on duty since 2007. Then, three detectives were charged over the death of a man shot after he left a strip club on the eve of his wedding. The three were later found not guilty. Graham's mother, Constance Malcolm, cried out before leaving the courtroom in tears on Wednesday: "He killed my child. What more can you do to me?" Haste shot and killed Graham in his apartment bathroom on 2 February 2012 while his six year-old brother and 58 year-old grandmother looked on. His attorney, Stuart London, has maintained that because of radio calls that preceded the shooting, his client was under the impression that Graham was armed and only fired after repeatedly ordering the teen to show his hands.