In a major ruling on Monday, August 12, a federal judge found the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk-policy unconstitutional and racially discriminatory. In her decision in the landmark case of Floyd v. City of New York, Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, determined that stop-and-frisk constituted “a policy of indirect racial profiling by targeting racially defined groups for stops based on local crime suspect data,” and that “once a stop is made, blacks and Hispanics are more likely to be subjected to the use of force than whites, despite the fact that whites are more likely to be found with weapons or contraband.”

In a footnote to her decision noting the “frequent and ongoing notice of troubling racial disparities in stops,” Scheindlin also referred to an investigative documentary video published by The Nation last year:

In addition, as has been widely reported, a teenager named Alvin Cruz has made public an audio recording of his stop in Harlem on June 3, 2011. It appears to be the only known recording of a stop by a civilian. In the recording, the officers verbally abuse Cruz, threaten to break his arm, and appear to physically abuse him. After an officer asks Cruz if he wants to go to jail, Cruz asks why the officers are threatening to arrest him, and one replies: “For being a fucking mutt! You know that?” Ross Tuttle & [Erin] Schneider, Stopped-and-Frisked: ‘For Being a F**king Mutt’ [VIDEO], The Nation, Oct. 8, 2012 [page 190 in the PDF of the ruling]

The decision is a significant victory for civil rights advocates, even if New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared in a press conference yesterday that he will appeal the ruling.