For the second time in a month, the Police Department has issued new orders surrounding the Stop and Frisk campaign.
The change comes in the wake of the Village Voice’s NYPD Tapes series, which reported that officers were doing stop and frisks to hit quotas, reported that people were being stopped and arrested for not having identification even though they were standing in front of their own buildings, and raised the question of whether cops were ignoring the reasonable suspicion standard in performing those stops. Part 1 of the series is here. And Part 3 of the series is here.
Last month, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly ordered police officers to hand out little cards to people who have been stopped and frisked. The cards purported to explain the legal justification for a stop, known in department parlance as a UF-250.
On June 8, Kelly issued an order reminding officers working in public housing that they can’t stop people unless they “reasonably suspect” that person does not live in that building.
“An officer may not stop a suspected trespasser unless the officer “reasonably suspects” that the person is in the building without authority,” Interim Order 23 reads. “If, but only if, reasonable suspicion exists, a stop, question and frisk report shall be prepared.”
The number of stop and frisks have skyrocketed over the past five years, leading to charges that New Yorkers civil rights are being violated. Two class action lawsuits are pending over the practice.
It was unclear why the order was issued now, but it may be sparked by civilian complaints that police are stopping people without cause and arresting them for trespassing even if they have a legitimate reason to be in a building, and by the pending litigation.