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In a pretty shameless politicizing of the death of a young man in Manhattan, the mayor recently said,

“When police stop and ask a 17-year-old a question based on reasonable suspicion of a crime, there is outrage…”

No, Mr. Mayor.  It is not when stops are made on reasonable suspicion that there is outrage.  It’s that stops are consistently, repeatedly made without reasonable suspicion.  That is what is creating outrage.  If they had reasonable suspicion, the stops would be, well, reasonable.

But when entire communities are subject to random, suspicionless stops of their kids, in the name of some perceived greater good, we have a problem.  And that is what “stop and frisk” is.

After all, why did they have to come up with a program called “stop and frisk”?  What does “stop and frisk” mean?  Does it mean that the NYPD will simply continue following the law and stopping people based on particularized and individualized, reasonable suspicion?  Is the Stop and Frisk headline: “NYPD ANNOUNCES NEW POLICY OF FOLLOWING THE LAW”?  No- it is distinguishable as a policy in that it goes out of its way to stretch and violate the law.

When the children of Brooklyn Heights and the Upper East Side, the students of Horace Mann and Fieldston, are repeatedly put up against a wall and patted down on the same bullshit pretexts as kids outside under-performing schools in Bushwick and the Bronx, we’ll see if the Mayor and his supporters continue to demean the legitimate outrage created by their systemic unconstitutional policies.


Andrew Stoll is a New York City Criminal Defense, Civil Rights, and Employee Lawyer. He is the founding partner of Stoll, Glickman & Bellina, LLP, a Brooklyn based law firm dedicated to empowering the exploited. Stoll is an adjunct law professor at Seton Hall Law School, sits on the Corrections Committee of the New York City Bar Association, and is a member of the National Police Accountability Project.

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