Skip to main content

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.

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.

Ah yes. Is that a suspicious bulge in your pocket or are you just terrified to see me?


Here's a nice bit from the deposition:

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.

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.  
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.

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.

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.

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."

Originally posted to jpmassar on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 07:43 PM PDT.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, Progressive Policy Zone, Barriers and Bridges, and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site