Re-breaking the Windows by Heather Mac Donald, City Journal 31 January 2014
Re-breaking the Windows
Mayor de Blasio’s decision to settle the NYPD lawsuit threatens the city’s triumph over crime.
31 January 2014
Judge Shira Scheindlin’s ruling against the NYPD last August was built on willful ignorance of crime’s racial reality. Scheindlin invented a new concept, “indirect racial profiling,” in order to convict the department of unconstitutional policing, despite lacking the evidence to do so. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals challenged Scheindlin’s appearance of impartiality last October when it found that she had steered stop, question, and frisk cases to her courtroom. The Second Circuit panel removed her from the case and stayed her opinion while the city pursued its appeal. Now, however, thanks to de Blasio, Scheindlin’s tendentious ruling will stay on the books (unless the NYPD’s police unions succeed in their own appeal), setting back the cause of public safety not just in New York, but across the country.
The least of the opinion’s problems is the unnecessary bureaucracy it inflicts on the NYPD, including a federal monitor, burdensome reporting requirements, and left-wing advisory panels, all overseen by the plaintiffs’ attorneys. The most serious problem is Scheindlin’s statistical test of racial profiling, which compares police stops to population data, rather than crime data. Scheindlin found the NYPD guilty of biased policing because blacks make up a little over half the subjects of the department’s pedestrian stops, though they are just under a quarter of the city’s population. She ignored the fact that blacks commit nearly 80 percent of all shootings in New York and two-thirds of all violent crime.
It’s little surprise that de Blasio chose not to fight Scheindlin’s dangerously misguided opinion, beholden as he is to the city’s advocacy groups.
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