Floyd v. New York City, the lawsuit that puts 'Stop & Frisk' on trial, ended its second week today.
Testimony from a number of witnesses showed that the New York City police had de facto quotas for stops, targeted young black males, and rarely could justify their stops in terms of what the Supreme Court in Terry v. Ohio called "specific and articulable facts" (or if they did, they just made them up after the fact).
Here are some exerpts from the Center for Constitutional Rights' daily summaries for this week. The trial resumed on Wednesday and will continue again on Monday.
The day's actual proceedings began with testimony from the two officers who stopped and handcuffed 13-year old Devon Almonor. Inconsistencies in their stated reasons for stopping him were taken apart in what one observer called "a withering dissection" by co-counsel Jenn Borchetta from Beldock Levine & Hoffman LLP. Brian Dennis said Almonor was stopped because he looked over his shoulder and adjusted his waistband; Jonathan Korabel said he was stopped for jaywalking.Besides having no justificatin for stopping Devon, one of the officers then proceeded to taunt him.
Called as a witness in a civil rights case in federal court in Manhattan, Officer Brian Dennis conceded that he had told a handcuffed Devin Almonor to stop "crying like a little girl."Nice, professional taunting, of course.
Today began with Officer Luis Pichardo continuing his testimony. Yesterday, Pichardo said that he was under direct pressure to make numbers - five summons per tour, and specific numbers of stops and arrests - at the time that he stopped Deon Dennis, one of the plaintiffs in Floyd. While several other cops have testified to the existence of quotas, Pichardo's admission is particularly significant because he is a hostile witness.Ah yes. Is that a suspicious bulge in your pocket or are you just terrified to see me?
At the conclusion of his testimony, the court heard from two officers involved in the stop of David Floyd (Cormac Joyce and Eric Hernandez) as well as their supervisor, Sergeant James Kelly. Both Joyce and Hernandez testified to details of the stop that they have never mentioned before, retroactively constructing rationales for a baseless stop. Joyce, for instance, today said that Floyd had a "suspicious bulge," but the UF 250 ((the 'Stop & Frisk' reporting form)) that Joyce filled out at the time of the stop did not have the "suspicious bulge" box checked off.
Here's a nice bit from the deposition:Mayor Bloomberg and his police commissioner Ray Kelly make the claim that 'Stop & Frisk' is designed to keep guns off the streets, but only something like 0.15% (1 1/2 in 1000) stops result in a gun being found.
Q. [Plaintiffs' Attorney] So that means that of all the stops and frisks, 90 percent does not lead to any kind of arrest activity, correct?
A. [DIAZ] Yes.
Q. [Plaintiffs' Attorney] As a senior police officer in the police department, does that give you any cause for concern?
A. [DIAZ] No.
In 2011, 770 guns were recovered across New York during frisks. That amounts to a 30 percent increase over 2003, when 594 guns were recovered. However, in order to find those additional 176 guns, half a million more people were stopped and frisked throughout the city.Can you say 'unreasonable suspicion?' Can you say 'improbable cause?' I knew you could.
CCR's Darius Charney questioned ((Sergeant)) Kelly to determine why Floyd was stopped and frisked in front of his home with a neighbor on February 27, 2008 while trying to open the door.They stopped him because he might have been a burglar, except he wasn't doing anything they could see to indicate he might be burgling.
The officers at the time claimed there had been a string of burglaries in the vicinity. But Darius's questioning revealed that the crime data for that area included no recorded burglary reports within the three weeks before Floyd's stop. Prior to that, seven burglaries had been reported on the other side of the Bronx River Parkway, approximately a mile away. According to Kelly, this was still "within the vicinity" of Floyd's home.
As for the reasonable individualized suspicion required to conduct the stop, when pressed by the Judge on whether he considered a large set of keys a "burglary tool," Kelly answered yes. Yet Kelly also said that he could not actually see Floyd's hands from the car when deciding to stop him and his neighbor.
Right, got it.
And finally I will leave you with this gem:
On the stand, Kelly was also asked if he had ever reviewed the NYPD's racial profiling policy with his officers. His response? ... "a reasonable person isn't going to racially profile, so it's not something that's discussed very often."