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82 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. Arguendo 1 (2013-2014)

handle is hein.journals/gwargu82 and id is 1 raw text is: COMMENTARY
Stops and Frisks, Race, and the Constitution
Paul J. Larkin, Jr.*
For more than a decade, the New York City Police Department (NYPD)
has pursued an aggressive strategy to reduce street crime. Among the steps that
the NYPD has taken is to stop and frisk anyone suspected of having committed,
committing, or being about to commit a crime, such as the illegal possession of a
firearm.  New   York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD      Police
Commissioner Ray Kelly have touted the NYPD's stop-and-frisk practice as being
responsible for the reduction in crime, particularly homicides, that New York City
has witnessed over the past decade. The practice is controversial, however,
because the vast majority of individuals stopped are African American or
Hispanic. This controversy eventually made its way into court. Nineteen parties
who had been stopped by the NYPD brought suit against the City in Floyd v. City
of New York. After a trial, the federal district court ruled that the NYPD's stop-
and-frisk practice violated the Fourth Amendment and the Equal Protection
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The court, however, applied the wrong
legal analysis to the plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment claims. The court relied on a
statistical analysis of the NYPD's stop-and-frisk practice as a whole, but the
Fourth Amendment requires each stop or frisk to be examined individually. By
contrast, the district court may have been correct in its equal protection ruling.
The court was troubled by evidence in the record that the NYPD cared only about
the number of stops, not their legality, as well as evidence of bigotry. That
. Senior Legal Fellow and Manager, Overcriminalization Project, The Heritage
Foundation; M.P.P., The George Washington University, 2010; J.D., Stanford Law School,
1980; B.A., Washington and Lee University, 1977. The views expressed in this article are
the author's own and should not be construed as representing any official position of The
Heritage Foundation. In the interest of full disclosure, I was counsel for the United States in
two cases mentioned below: United States v. Sokolow, 490 U.S. 1 (1989), and Michigan v.
Chesternut, 486 U.S. 567 (1988).
September 2013 Vol. 82 Arguendo

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