City Journal Summer 2014

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Summer 2014
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Heather Mac Donald
Safe Streets, Overruled « Back to Story

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DeAngelo Davis@ gun crime in NYC is an exclusively black and hispanic problem! deal with it!
I agree with Ms. Macdonald on several fronts,however i have lived in Brooklyn and was stopped just because of my color. I checked thepolice wire after three of those stops and I did not fit the desciption of any of the perps. And on two such ocassions the officers were over aggressive. Are you telling me that the only way to stem the tide of crime is to stop all black and hispanic men unjustly. Lastly where did those eroneous stats about who commits crime in Brooklyn come from. So non blacks only commit 1% of violent crimes 7% of all crimes in Brooklyn? Get real when is the last time she was in Brooklyn to see the young Italians wilding out.I respect her was a writer but I have never seen her in the hood, especially at night!
The judge was wrong, this is not a civil rights issue, it is a civil liberties issue, and a vital one.

Random, warrantless searches of people going about their lawful business are an abomination that simply can not be permitted in a civilized society. The authors of the Bill of Rights understood this perfectly and made their point with the 4th Amendment. If we give in and allow this in the poor areas of NYC it will spread to the rest of the nation, and soon cops will be searching randomly selected houses at midnight.


Abolish it, NOW.

I don't care about the race of the people being frisked or of the police doing the work. What I care about is an ancient document that talks about "The right of the people to be secure in their persons and papers...". This stop-and-frisk program is one more step toward a police state and the presumed benefits are simply not worth it.
Pull the police out of the neighborhood and let the people there deal with the consequences. They think they have problems now, they ain't seen nothin' yet. Only a damn fool is going to waste time stopping people who are very unlikely to be up to no good and ignore those who time and experience have repeatedly shown to actually be up to no good. The community needs to face the reality that the vast majority of its crimes are committed by a certain group of people and innocent members of that group should steer their anger towards the other members of their group whose bad bahavior is casting suspicion upon everyone in that group, raher than get angry at the police for using simple common sense to better achieve their duty of controlling crime. Don't you think that the thankless, if not hostile, attitude many minorities express towards the police, combined with all the pc nonsense, might have alot to do with police being irritable? They are only human too.....
"Your people," Sophie? Really? My people are the law-abiding and self-supporting, whatever their race. But, if you want to reason by race category, then you should know that it is mostly "your people" who are being robbed and murder in droves by mostly "your people." The whole purpose of the policing you decry is to bring down the rate at which "your people" are being victimized to that rate enjoyed by "my people." If "your people" are being annoyed by that strategy, well, that's the price that has to be paid to protect them from "your people."
While stop and frisk is effective, MacDonald does not mention the judge citing the CONTITUTIONAL problems associated with it, namely that their should be a higher threshold of suspicion before a stop.
Being effective is not the same as being constitutional.
@Tionico: once as Director of my City's Crime Prevention Program I was driving on my way to a meeting with the Captain of Police in charge of our highest crime areas. I was stopped by some extremely suspicious and aggressive police. It seems the car I had borrowed from my daughter, a chevy nova, was according to the officers "only driven by gangsters and dope dealers".

Such is life, some of this just happens.

The tragedies are where people lose, as they easily can if there is no over-sight, their liberty, property, and/or employment, without even probable cause for arrest let alone prosecution let alone conviction of any criminal offense.

Then there is the incredible number of people of color imprisoned for non-violent offenses, especially those involving marijuana (or other drug offenses where the offense involves only drug distribution and not any of the numerous other, far more serious offenses one often finds drug business folks committing).
Over reacting I think. The Judge has not said "NO", the Judge has said "re-evaluate". IF the re-evaluation continue the practice where likely criminals, based on time place and manner and not 'corrected' towards 'representative stop and frisk', the functional part of the practice could continue, and hopefully with broader acceptance.

One does NOT want a city where a huge part of the populace believes, for whatever reason, that it has not a police force, but an army of occupation.
Evidently the author likes living under a police state.

In America, probable cause and articulable suspicion are the acceptable basis for such stops. Demanding ID is a form of detention. Perhaps the author imagines they live in Europe, where such policing is lawful.

The whole 'stop & frisk' policing policy is unconstitutional and a violation of personal freedom.
You could virtually eliminate violent crime in the 88th Precinct by putting all Blacks and Hispanics in preventative detention, or by requiring them to wear ankle bracelets.

Would those be considered reasonable measures? There's a line here someplace, but just where is it?
Stop and frisk, without probable cause, is not constitutional. Even if it seems necessary, it isn't legal.

I agree with the problem of thugs congregating, and there used to be loitering statutes which would allow the Police to deal with the problem.
Kitty Genovese weeps.
Fine objections to the Judge's 14th Amendment arguments against the policy.

What about the 4th Amendment arguments made, that the "Stop and Frisk" policy as currently implemented violates the "just cause" requirements for search and seizure?
Many here imagine that the police are oh so polite and courteous during their stop & frisks, when its very much the opposite. When stopped, you cease to be a citizen; barely even a human actually. The disgust that oozes out of the officer as he questions you, while feeling you up and down, patting your pockets, is one of the most humiliating things that can happen to a person who has done nothing wrong (over 90% of those stopped). Then, when they can't arrest you for anything, you're summarily dismissed to go on with your day, safe in the knowledge that NYPD is looking out for you, whether you want it or not.
What if people had a right to defend themselves? Oh wait... they do in every part of the US but Liberalistan.
Never mind my, or your, or some Hispanic guy's right to merely walk the streets. THEY MUST BE SAFE, DAMN THAT CONSTITUTION THING. Get serious. How safe are those streets without this thug tactic by the Gestapo, I mean, NYPD? Just as safe? A little less safe? Allow me to remind you of Jefferson's admonition in the Latin, "Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem."
"I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude." If I have to fear showing my "papers" or worry about being frisked just because I'm walking down the street, how free am I?
If you can't profile in Arizona, why can you profile in New York?
So what? Let the crime rate go up.

This might actually force the residents to address the true CAUSE of the problem - their own sloppy parenting of young men.
Instead of Fifty Shades of Grey, Judge Shira Scheindlin should have read Statistics for Dummies. #summerreading
This is all you need to know of Judge Shira:

n September 2006 Scheindlin ruled that Judith Clark, a Weather Underground radical serving 75 years to life for the murder of a Brinks guard and two police officers during a robbery, was entitled to a new trial because her Sixth Amendment right to counsel was violated. Scheindlin found Clark's right to counsel was violated even though the then-self-proclaimed revolutionary insisted on representing herself at trial, turned down legal counsel, boycotted much of the trial and refused to recognize the court's authority. In January 2008 the Second Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously reversed Scheindlin's ruling and held that Clark was not denied her right to counsel because Clark "knowingly and intelligently exercised her constitutional right to make those choices."

She is not married so she and her kin can't move in Ft Greene. She's a solo act.
Why don't we have an Appeal Court to rule to have Judge Shira Scheindlin move into Fort Greene with her family?
"Scheindlin, however, apparently believes that population ratios are the proper benchmark for measuring the legality of stop activity. ...In other words, though whites and Asians commit less than 1 percent of violent crime in the 88th Precinct and less than 6 percent of all crime, they should make up 40 percent of all stops—to match their representation in the local population."


If Judge Scheindlin insists that people be stopped and searched in relation to their representation in the local population rather that their representation among local criminals and/or crime suspects, then I'd have thought the solution for the NYPD were obvious: start ramping up stops & searches of older, white, Jewish ladies. I'll bet they are hugely under-represented among those stopped and such a policy would make for, shall we say, 'enlightening conversation' among Judge Scheindlin's social circle.
beverly August 13, 2013 at 11:41 PM:
'The farmer, Martin (57) was sentenced to FIVE YEARS for having the gall to defend himself from violent assailants in his Own Home. Then the BURGLAR SUED him!!! And the English "court" accepted the lawsuit!!!'

this will be a civil case. there have been many such cases in the U.S.
Richard McDermott August 14, 2013 at 11:47 AM
Exactly what motivates this judge to think (reason?)the strange way she does about this case?
Richard McDermott August 14, 2013 at 11:45 AM
Exactly what motivates this judge to think (reason?)the strange way she does about this case?
Richard McDermott August 14, 2013 at 11:21 AM
Exactly what motivates this judge to think (reason?)the strange way she does about this case?
This is the same sort of liberal blindness which leads to community destruction throughout America's cities, and indeed, the destruction of a substantial part of one group, and the impending destruction of another. But, those are issues beyond your article.

The Judge appears to come to the case with the idea that the burden should be on the police department to prove its policies are non-discriminatory, and not the reverse. But what do you do when, due to policies adopted by Democrats and imposed on the community, the result is crime on an unheard of scale? When, as a result of Democratic policies, a minority neighborhood has a high crime rate, do you simply ignore it? The focusing of police resources on places where crime is highest, rather than equaling police protection throughout the City, is a substantial part of the reason for the reduction
in crime. Should we go back to the old ways of policing, where thousands more will die?

Ultimately, it is up to the residents of crime ridden neighborhoods to protest this ridiculous decision. The problem, of course, is that with this being New York City, the belly of the Democratic media beast, those who would oppose this decision will never be able to get their message out. And, this being a federal case, there is no help at the voting booth either.

Sometimes it makes you wnoder if Democrats are simply more comfortable with crime since it drives away those who might be inclined to vote for someone else. Certainly, there is few other explanations.

P.S. I grew up in suburban New Jersey in the 70's and I recall at least three instances when friends and I were stopped and frisked. We didn't suffer any ill effects, and believed the cops were just doing their job. So this isn't something that only happens in cities.
Is there no avenue of appeal against this judge's ruling?

I guess another aspect of this is that all stop-and-search events should be recorded on video. The police in New York need chest mounted video cameras which are on at all times when they are on patrol. That ought to ensure that such actions are carried out with sufficient care, effectiveness, efficiency, and with respect towards suspects.
This might be at the point of becoming moot with new imaging tech solving the problem. However, I suspect there is much more to it than just finding guns, drugs, and contraband. Like the personal contact and talk is more important for some reason that I'm sure most cops could elaborate on. In that case the new tech might be worse since it would preclude these stop with a technological certainty.
Stomping progressively into the New Stone Age, to find social justice.
Carrying the Mayor's water - good job, Heather - your people aren't being put up against the wall and 4 pointed on the ground. Why should you care???? Stay safe sweetheart - no worries for you :)
There's nothing more sanctimonious than a liberal activist living and working in an environment safe from the depredations of the underclass.
A sober commentary on policing. Ms. Mac Donald is without peer. Nobody does it better.
I don't live in New York City or in any of the high crime, extremely violent neighborhoods in the outer boroughs, where black on black violence is the order of the day.

If they want to rob, rape and kill each other, I couldn't care less. Judge Scheindlin, the rich white folks who put her in office, and race pimps like Al Sharpton, Barack Obama and Jesse Jackson don't live anywhere near these high crime areas, so they care as much about the whole issue as I do.

This is what's next, folks: look at the situation in England already. From the BBC --

"The farmer jailed for the manslaughter of a 16-year-old burglar [who broke into his house] is being sued for up to £50,000 -- by one of the men who broke into his home.

Brendan Fearon, 32, was wounded in the shooting at Tony Martin's Norfolk farmhouse which ended in the death of teenager Fred Barras.

Fearon now plans to sue Martin for thousands of pounds in damages - claiming assault and trespass against the person."

The farmer, Martin (57) was sentenced to FIVE YEARS for having the gall to defend himself from violent assailants in his Own Home. Then the BURGLAR SUED him!!! And the English "court" accepted the lawsuit!!!

RE: NYC cops? they were very blunt with my friend. They told her they'd stopped the black man who tried to break into her apartment, the very next day, but they didn't arrest him: "It's not worth it," they said. "Way too much hassle arresting a black man now."

They are throwing their hands up in anger and disgust, and most of them will blow off active policing. When I was on jury duty last year, we saw cases all day long (all Manhattan), and 85% of the defendants were black males. The remainder were Hispanic. I don't think we saw ONE case where the defendant was white.

Also, the sergeant of the jury room told us that 10% of the police make 90% of the arrests, the rest are just marking time and eating donuts. Those 10% really are the thin blue line between us and savagery, and Scheindlin has just declared war on them.
A friend of mine, a white lady in her early 40s, quite attractive, went to a Manhattan precinct Friday night to file a police report about a break-in attempt: a young black male had tried to force his way into her apartment window at 3:00 am the night before (she's still sleeping in her living room, terrified). Thank God she had a window gate barring the way, but he thrust his arm between the bars and scared the hell out of her.

Then he tried to get into her neighbor's apartment, another single woman, who's on the same fire escape landing (3rd floor of a 5-story building). Surveillance footage revealed his race and general features.

Anyway, when she went to the precinct, she says the police were extremely angry and bitter about the leftwing judge, Sheindlin, and her ruling: "They don't want us to do police work??? Okay, so we WON'T do police work. Then they can see how they like it!!"

The Scheindlin creature probably lives either in Westchester or on the Upper East Side; possibly on the Upper West Side in an apartment building -- at any rate, that female of the canine species no doubt feels immune to the horrendous consequences of her idiotic ruling.

Another neighbor of mine, a man who's lived in this street since he was 7, says that word around here is that the crime rate, break-ins, street fights, assaults, is WORSE than it's been in years -- just in the last few months. The race pimps have been pounding the drums to outlaw stop-question-frisk tactics for about a year now, and the thugs hear this and know that it's Open Season on the rest of us.

I only hope they take Scheindlin first.
As we've come to expect, Heather Mac Donald, provides a very clear analysis of the statistical crime data in the realistic context of the street level realities that police and crime victims must endure.

It would have been great if the Judge had been schooled by Dr. Mac Donald.

On a positive note, it is just a matter of time for the Judge's faulty dictates to produce serious consequences for citizens and the police.

What then?
How can a judge ask the police to patrol a neighborhood where statistically Hispanics and African Americans commit most of the crimes and not have the ability to detain and question these people if they seem suspicious? This is a plaintiff attorneys dream! The criminals will not need to rob people anymore because they can make more money by suing the cities for violation of a criminal's civil rights. We no longer have laws that protect citizens who abide by the laws. We no longer have a true democracy if illiterate illegal aliens are given the right to vote for things that they do not understand. We have modeled our country after every Banana Republic in the Western Hemisphere!
In short, let the killings and robberies begin! Poor Scheindlin: a product of our recent decades or poli sci, social sci, and of course meat-head Law Profs. As for lawyers as oppressive parasites, just see the wonderful stanza of Ariosto in early 16th cenury:
Renaissance poet Ariosto remarked of our civilization (“Orlando Furioso,” 1516): “Their hands and their law-bags are full of summonses, libels, inquests, documents and powers-of-attorney; they have great folders full of glosses, counsels’ opinions and statements.” Ordinary folks he added are never safe in their cities, beset as they are on all sides side by lawyers.
You make some valid points. In the previous writeup I saw, the details you mention are absent. If recent crime reports consistently describe similar suspects, then cops stopping "suspects" whose descriptiins lie far outside those reported parameters is nonsense, counterproductive, and offensive to obviously innocent passersby who might be "contacted". However, the reprot I read DOES bring up other details you omit... it seems that all too often the "probable cause" upon which a given contact is made is rather far fetched. "Furtive movements", :avoiding" the cop, "bulge" under clothing that turns out to be a wallet or cell phone..... it seems that, at least in come parts of NYC, cops abuse their "stop and frisk" model.... I personally know a man who was driving along, minding his own business, doing nothing illegal or suspicious.... but because of the make/model car he was driving, and his poutward appearance, the cop thought something was amisss.... and pulled him over. No real probable cause. False felony charges, car impounded, destroyed by wilful action on the part of the impound lot, major court case on his hands.... charges dropped (no basis) but he's still out the car and thousands of dollars in legal fees. If he'd been a poor black dude, he'd have ended up rotting in jail for a long time, car gone forever, job gone...... back down the sewer pipe for a LONG time.

What New York City REALLY needs is to end the stupid gun laws that prohibit nearly everyone from being able to carry defeinseive weapons. This is proven time and again to be the MOST effective means of reducing crime. The many robberies, mubbings, housebreakings, occurring in that city put the people ar great risk. Knowing a few putative victims might be armed would give perps significant cause to perhaps choose another ilne of "work". Yes, there might be a few shootouts when armed gangs get confronted by armed citizens seeking to "take out the trash". That won't last long. Personally, I will NOT enter New York City again until some things change, that being one of them. No, not even flying through either of your airports. And I certailny will NOT drive into your city.... for that would mean being disarmed the entire trip, because simple possession of a handgun withon your city limits is a serious felony and I will NOT put myself in that position. Stop and frisk is a two edged sword.... but it remains ONLY a sword. Not much good on a battlefront where most of the combatants are armed with something greater.

Now, every S & F situation will require the cops to fill out a form, detailing the race, sex, orientation, income, amount of outstanding student loans, and let's see what else, before the police can even think of actually patting down suspects for weapons and talking to them!!

Forget that most violent crime victims in NYC is "black on black" crime!
Liberalism at its worst. Just like TSA frisks old ladies, cops will now be required to atop Hasidim Jews.
So, if we understand this latest screwiness, the New York police go to high crime areas and stop men, and perhaps some women, who look like they might be about to commit a crime. They search them hoping to find something illegal and if they find nothing illegal the potential criminal is at least warned that next time around the situation may work out differently.

Seems simple enough in concept and not very original law enforcement since police throughout history have been doing exactly that. But, then, in America the political nuttiness begins when things are going too smoothly – stopping a black male for frisking and a little official intimidation in Fort Green will now mean that first a cop must locate 4 white men in the same general area, frisk the white guys, give them the stink eye and let them go with the warning: “We’ll be watching you”.

That’s much more challenging because first you must find your target white guy who may be scarce on local grounds for the obvious reasons and then you must film him doing something suspicious like sidewalk mopery or reckless spitting. Once you’ve nabbed your quota of white guys and perhaps some poor guy strolling while Asian, you can go after a black or Hispanic male but not both on the same day.

Wouldn’t it be easier to just ban stop and frisk altogether? Instead we will now have cameras and quotas, forcing police to pack calculators along with all that other heavy tactical gear like vests, batons and cans of mace. And what form of law allows us to be stopped, frisked and let go based solely on suspicion but only in arithmetic proportion to population demographics? Apparently the sort of law which protects the most vulnerable among New Yorkers but not at the expense of the predators’ personal space and innate human dignity.

Quite a dilemma for the beat cop and the first time in history the police are paid not to annoy potential criminals based on judicial squeamishness as strictly interpreted under our Constitutional illusions toward logic. Instead of instituting this absurd nonsense why not let the predators rob, rape and murder the most vulnerable among us as predators are wont to do and then investigate the actual crime – that’s how it works in other American cities, admittedly it doesn’t work very well at stopping crime but why should New Yorkers believe they must receive effective law enforcement?
Criminals have their own lobby now.