How might the political structures of authoritarianism, liberalism, and republicanism respond to, “N.Y. police’s ‘stop-and-frisk’ tactics violate rights, judge rules”? Here’s an excerpt for the discussion:
U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that the police adopted a policy of “indirect racial profiling” by targeting racially defined groups for stops, resulting in the disproportionate, discriminatory stopping of tens of thousands of blacks and Hispanics, and that the city’s highest officials “turned a blind eye” toward this result, she said.
“No one should live in fear of being stopped whenever he leaves his home to go about the activities of daily life,” Scheindlin wrote in her opinion.
Police personnel felt or were aware of pressure to increase the number of stops when Mayor Michael Bloomberg took office in 2002 and brought in Raymond Kelly to be NYPD Commissioner, the judge wrote.
As a result, officers often frisked young minority men for weapons or searched their pockets for contraband before letting them go, in a violation of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment that protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, the judge said in a 195-page decision.
A 2012 New York Civil Liberties Union report showed a sharp, steady increase in police stops over the course of Bloomberg’s three terms in office – to 685,724 in 2011 from 160,851 stops in 2003, with about half of the 2011 stops resulting in physical searches.
Bloomberg and Kelly countered that the practice has driven down violent crime and limited the number of illegal guns being carried on the streets on New York.
Republicanism: Let’s applaud Judge Shira Scheindlin. People certainly don’t want criminals on the streets, but you can’t create a police state to ensure that there are no criminals. Creating an arbitrary police state eviscerates republican society–which is ludicrous public policy. You can’t arbitrarily search and frisk people in a republican society. It may be possible to, say, stop every car along the highway for a breathalyzer for a short time. However, it must be ubiquitous–if the people indeed will such severe police activity for the public safety. But arbitrarily stopping and frisking people on the street is not republican. Recall, the 4th Amendment is a republican statement, and it is being violated.
Liberalism: In times of high crime, the state operates in a gray area to protect the people. All people, being neutral towards others’ values and cultures, must understand that criminal activity must be stopped. The police should need probable cause; however, in times of crises, liberalism usually turns eccentricity into sin. The judge made the “right” decision, but it may be at the expense of public safety and the will of the people. Until we are all safe, exceptions must be made. Perchance the police did go too far, who was truly injured by the policy?
Authoritarianism: The judge is crazy. We live in a state of fear precisely because criminals are omnipresent. The state protects us from criminals, and if you have nothing to hide, then you better not complain about the inconvenience of a short stop. It’s like airport security. It’s all for your protection during these uncertain times. We apologize for the inconvenience, but we will force security upon the people.