Police Commissioner Ray Kelly warned that the streets of New York may become a more dangerous place after a federal judge ruled the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program unconstitutional on Monday.
Manhattan federal Judge Shira Scheindlin found the city liable for violating the constitutional rights of black and Hispanic plaintiffs who claim they were targeted because of their race.
Delivering her ruling she said “the city’s highest officials have turned a blind eye to the evidence that officers are conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner.”
Mayor Bloomberg has vowed to appeal the ruling.
“I worry for my kids, and I worry for your kids. I worry for you and I worry for me,” Bloomberg said at a City Hall press conference with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
“In their zeal to defend a policy that they believe to be effective, they have willfully ignored overwhelming proof that the policy of targeting ‘the right people’ is racially discriminatory.”
Kelly claims the seizure of $750,000 worth of heroin in Washington Heights last weekend would not have been possible without stop-and-frisk.
“On Saturday, a man threw a duffel bag into the trunk of a double-parked car in Washington Heights,” Kelly said. “When officers approached the man, he ran — that’s suspicious behavior.”
The NYPD then spoke to the 26-year-old driver Joancis Delacruz-Arias, who gave them permission to search his vehicle. The two police officers then opened the duffel bag and found 20 pounds of the narcotic.
“They [officers] found $750,000 worth of heroin in the trunk,” Kelly said.
“They arrested the suspect and spared the untold misery that three-quarters of a million dollars worth of drugs and addiction can cause the families who can least afford it.”
Kelly contests that busts like that are based on suspicious behavior, and have nothing to do with people being targeted because of their race.
“What I find most disturbing and offensive . . . is the notion that the NYPD engaged in racial profiling,” he said.
“That simply is recklessly untrue. We do not engage in racial profiling.”