Judge: Halt Suspicion-Less Bronx Stops

NEW YORK (AP) -

New York police must stop making trespass stops outside certain privately-owned Bronx apartment buildings without reasonable suspicion, a judge ordered Tuesday, saying the NYPD had crossed the line into unconstitutional practices.

Black and Latino residents have sued the city, claiming police have a widespread practice of making unlawful stops on suspicion of trespass as part of a program that allows police to patrol inside and around private residential buildings. The ruling is an interim order before a trial.

It is not enough for a police officer to have a non-specific suspicion about a person to perform a stop and frisk, said U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan. The plaintiffs said the stops left them feeling disrespected and defenseless, she noted.

The case is one of three lawsuits challenging stop and frisk practices. The city first adopted a law in 1964 that allows police to stop, question and sometimes frisk people they think might be doing something criminal, even if their suspicions don’t meet the probable-cause standard.

The city did not immediately comment.