|Which Kids Will Be Stopped and Frisked?|
As expected (see Mad Dog's May 28th post),Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled against the City of New York, its police department, its mayor in the stop and frisk cases.
Why should anyone in New Hampshire care about this? Because we are the Live Free or Die state and we care about intrusive government exerting its will without restraint. As that trusty Yankee from Massachusetts (Thoreau) once said, the only place for a just man in an unjust society, is jail.
Judge Scheindlin wrote a 200 page opinion, which Mad Dog may or may not have the patience to plow through, but already on the New Yorker blog is a post analyzing the statistical basis on which she based at least part of her opinion. She was trying to gather numbers to support the idea that stop and frisk is used not to find weapons carried by malefactors who harbor criminal intent, but to intimidate minorities into passivity.
The police argue they stop more blacks and Hispanics because it is among this group you find the most weapons and 80% of the crimes are committed by this group. So you go where the money is.
Of course, this is profiling. It means if you see a Black man in a Black neighborhood, you stop him because he is walking while Black, and statistically he is more likely to have a gun than the white guy in this neighborhood. For the same reason, you see a Black man in a white neighborhood, you stop him, because, ipso facto, he's suspicious.
After wending her way through a bunch of absurd academic "studies" and many statistics, the Judge finally arrives at the conclusion we all knew to begin with--in this country you are not supposed to be stopped and accused of something unless you do something to justify the suspicion; in this country you are not supposed to be considered suspicious because you are Black or Hispanic.
It doesn't take academic studies (especially poorly designed, derivative studies in which summaries of pieces of paper are examined) to allow Mad Dog or any mentating citizen to conclude police who are encouraged to throw men up against a wall will happily do this as a way of intimidating, dominating and establishing who is the alpha dog in the neighborhood.
Mad Dog recalls walking down First Avenue in Manhattan, in 1971, carrying a long umbrella on what turned out to be a sunny day. A police cruiser pulled over. A policeman jumped out and demanded the umbrella, which Mad Dog handed over, dumbfounded, curious, but not intimidated because he was white in a white neighborhood and had never been mistreated by the white police from the 20th precinct. The policeman pulled and twisted the curved wooden handle and finally handed it back. "Just checking to see if there was a sword inside."
That would have been an entirely different experience had Mad Dog been Black or had Mad Dog been walking in Bedford Stuyvestant. As a white guy in a white neighborhood, it was just an amusing kerfuffle. As a Black guy, in any neighborhood, it would have been an insult and a nasty experience. You would have felt judged. You are Black; therefore, you are dangerous and you should be treated as a potential felon.
You have only to watch "The Wire"to understand what this is all about. It's the West Baltimore way of policing and it's done by the most thuggish of the police, with a certain glee--they have a license to bully, and they like to throw their weight around, especially when they have the billy club and the back up and the citizen they are humping is defenseless.
Mayor Blumenthal says Judge Scheindlin does not understand the Constitution and he says she does not understand police work.
She may not--Mad Dog has not read her opinion. But Mad Dog thinks the rest of us understand the Constitution and the Fourth Amendment which forbids unreasonable search and seizure because even in the 18th century Americans knew they did not want to give police too much license, too much power.
And Mad Dog thinks he understands the policeman who stops and frisks. He is the top dog humping.
Judge Scheindlin knows what she sees.
Don't we all?