Does Stop And Frisk Still Matter?

trump-hillaryLast night’s first presidential debate between neoliberal savior Hillary Clinton and Nazi billionaire Donald Trump had plenty of lies and misinformation, mostly of course coming from Trump who cobbles his statements together from Breitbart and your grandpa’s racist email chains. But there was one thing where, as wrong as Trump was, Clinton was actually more wrong, and that was the claim that stop and frisk was ruled unconstitutional.

The date is March 12, 2015 and I’m at Cardozo Law School for a presentation called “Policing, Conflict, and Change.” Like all CLEs and legal events I was mostly there to look for potential husbands so that I can be an unapologetic Marxist firebrand and not worry about, you know, a job. But in all seriousness I was mostly there to see all-star attorney Darius Charney of the Center for Constitutional Rights who for our purposes you should know as the lead counsel of Floyd v. City of New York. While my involvement in policing issues for the past few years means I’m not naive to what difference any one case can make, I still thought that so soon after the case that the room would be at the very least hopeful for turning back the tide. But another panelist, Professor Jeffrey Fagan, opened the panel with a somber tone that would be held throughout the discussion (and my apologies for this being an imprecise quote): “I was asked to come here today to speak about the Fourth Amendment, which is somewhat ironic because there is not much left of the Fourth Amendment.”

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Prison Abolition Part 2: Bye Bye Broken Windows?

Part 1 of the Prison Abolition series.

Little_Shop_Of_Horrors_PicA recent event has led me to make a major change to the series, replacing the section on alternatives to incarceration with a discussion on broken windows. That event is the decision by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance declaring that his office would no longer prosecute so-called “quality of life” crimes. His office is downplaying how this does or does not fit into the standing NYPD policy of the past two decades (begun by Bill Bratton during his first tenure as Chief). But Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants’ Benevolent Association, is a bit more upfront: “They are now sending a message that minor offenses are no longer important to address as quality of life issues in New York City. This must be the new version of Bratton 2.0. This totally contradicts everything he has preached, philosophized and lectured about across the nation. Now, these offenses are no different than parking tickets.” Bratton himself remains fairly silent and minimally supportive on the issue. Now to be clear, as noted by Mullins, these offenses are not going away completely, but are merely being reduced to violations where you get a ticket.

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