By AATTP contributing author, E. Henry Schoenberger
Yesterday, August 12, 2013, Bloomberg’s New York’s “Stop-and-Frisk” was struck down by Judge Shira Scheindlin. And this ought to send a clear national message that racial (or sexual preference) profiling is unacceptable, if for no other reason than it is unconstitutional! Judge Scheindlin got it right when she ruled the program violates minorities’ Fourth Amendment rights by subjecting them to unreasonable searches. New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says the program has saved thousands of lives (an excuse based on empty hollow racist rhetoric). Prima facie empirical evidence – data – shows violent crime has dropped independent of Stop-and-Frisk searches. Scheindlin appointed a federal lawyer to oversee the NYPD, called for public meetings on the program, and created a program requiring police officers to wear video cameras while on duty.
There is nothing I can add to this by Philip Bump:
Monday’s two major shifts in how American criminal justice is meted out can be summarized in two charts. The first is from a study that shows how mandatory minimum sentences have resulted in much stricter penalties for people of color. The second shows how New York’s stop-and-frisk policy overwhelmingly focuses on innocent African-American and Hispanic people.
In his speech before the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates Monday afternoon, Attorney General Eric Holder argued for a reduction in mandatory minimum sentences. He pointed to one particular study as a rationale.
One deeply troubling report, released in February, indicates that – in recent years – black male offenders have received sentences nearly 20 percent longer than those imposed on white males convicted of similar crimes. This isn’t just unacceptable – it is shameful.
The audience applauded loudly for that line. But the data is just as compelling as the rhetoric.
It comes from a report issued to Congress by the United States Sentencing Commission. It looked at sentencing during four distinct periods during which differing minimum sentence guidelines were in effect. And it includes the following graph and summary.
In that second cluster of bars is the data point: sentences for black males were 19.5 percent longer than those for white males. And, further, black males are much less likely — 20 percent — to get a sentence below the minimum range.
From the report:
[A]lthough sentence length for both Black male and female offenders and White male and female offenders have decreased over time, White offenders’ sentence length has decreased more than Black offenders’ sentence length. Additionally, while Black male offenders received sentences that were not statistically different from those of White male offenders when both groups received non-government sponsored below range sentences, Black male offenders have been at least 20 percent less likely to receive a non-government sponsored below range sentence in the first instance.
In other words, even with minimum sentencing guidelines, there exist disparities in treatment based on race. Holder continued: Today, a vicious cycle of poverty, criminality, and incarceration traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities. And many aspects of our criminal justice system may actually exacerbate these problems, rather than alleviate them.
The craziest thought is that mankind actually began in Africa 65,000 according to irrefutable scientific studies based on exhaustive empirical evidence. Therefore, everyone’s complexion in the one race that is Homo Sapiens was dark in the beginning, and as man journeyed from Africa around the globe environmental factors factored into the evolution of different complexions and features. So everyone is bi-racial and it is time to stop all the ignorance and prejudice – especially in the “home of the brave and the free.”
And we can thank Judge Scheindlin for making some sense in the wake of Trayvon Martin and all the New Yorkers who have been plagued by racial profiling.
Check out Henry’s book here: