Monday, July 10, 2017

Do not keep a handgun, just in case

Just in case John Kennedy, who famously told you you'd better keep one, decides stop and frisk, instead of love is actually the answer.

Update:  One more thing here.  What is Gambit's opinion on Stop and Frisk?  The way this is worded suggests they have issued a ruling.
Though "stop-and-frisk" is controversial, it's not unconstitutional, though in 2013 a federal  judge ruled part of New York's implementation of the practice to be unconstitutional. An analysis of the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk policy, conducted by the New York American Civil Liberties Union, found "innocent New Yorkers have been subjected to police stops and street interrogations more than 5 million times since 2002, and that black and Latino communities continue to be the overwhelming target of these tactics. Nearly nine out of 10 stopped-and-frisked New Yorkers have been completely innocent." The department has gradually stepped down the practice since 2011.
Not sure why that is written, "it's not unconstitutional" rather than the more accurate, "it has not technically been ruled unconstitutional."  The explanation is fine but also sort of incomplete.  In the New York case, the judge ruled that the NYPD police "as applied" was most certainly unconstitutional because 1) It violated Fourth Amendment protections against reasonable search and seizure and 2) The clear racial bias evident in the NYPD stop and frisk operations violated the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause.

The FactCheck.org bit Gambit cites allows that the judge did not technically rule all "stop and frisk" policies are inherently unconstitutional allowing for a standard established by precedent.
In fact, Judge Scheindlin pointedly wrote in her opinion that she was “not ordering an end to the practice of stop and frisk.” She said they could continue if the city complied with court-ordered remedies to make sure that the stops and frisks did not violate the Constitution. (Scheindlin called these “Terry stops,” referring to Terry v. Ohio, in which the U.S. Supreme Court in 1968 ruled that a police officer can stop and frisk individuals where there is a reasonable basis for suspicion.)
But the Terry standard is itself controversial. So much so, in fact, that it's difficult to see how it prevents the sort of abuse the judge ruled against in the New York case. Note Justice Douglas's dissent quoted here.
In theory, this (Terry) seems like a reasonable compromise. But applying the standard in practice is fraught with potential dangers. Chief Justice Warren warned that "in determining whether the officer acted reasonably in such circumstances, due weight must be given not to his inchoate and unparticularized suspicion or 'hunch.'" But it's hard to avoid the conclusion that vague hunches are in fact responsible for many stop-and-frisk searches. As Justice William O. Douglas warned in his dissent, without ongoing vigilance, it's easy for the stop-and-frisk regime to devolve into a norm where "the police can pick [someone] up whenever they do not like the cut of his jib."
It's easy to see how any stop and frisk policy quickly opens the door to casual everyday violations of civil liberties. The New York case happens to be one where the data made the story crystal clear.  This is different from the experience in other cities such as, say, New Orleans where, yes, in fact, Stop and Frisk has been in open operation already.  Unfortunately for us, our Inspector General was either unable or unwilling to make a strong case against its application. From 2013:
The purpose of the IG's report was to determine whether officers "were compliant with legal requirements to stop individuals only when there was reasonable suspicion" and whether "when conducting stops and frisks, NOPD appeared to apply the constitutional standard of reasonable suspicion equally to all persons, regardless of their age, gender or race."

But auditors were not able to do so, the report says, because of various holes in the data. Though officers are required to fill out field information cards for each stop, they often did not complete the forms in full, the report says, and they sometimes listed multiple subjects on a single form.
The cops aren't filling out the form so I guess... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (the pose one assumes when stopped for a search)

It's worth noting also that Kennedy specifically refers to the New York practice in his whining. In other words he is arguing for the very application of the policy that has definitely been ruled unconstitutional. His argument, like Michael Bloomberg's is, basically, "This works so STFU, everybody."
"Throughout the trial that just concluded, the judge made it clear she was not at all interested in the crime reductions here or how we achieved them. In fact, nowhere in her 195-page decision does she mention the historic cuts in crime or the number of lives that have been saved."
Leaving aside the validity of Bloomberg's assertion, it isn't the judge's task to weigh the effectiveness of a law against the fundamental civil rights if violates in order to achieve its effect. Does Mitch Landrieu's "mentor" not understand this or does he just not care?  In any case, it's probably not a good idea for Gambit to issue its own legal opinion. No reason to embolden these bad actors.

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