I had a discovery hearing yesterday for my NYPD lawsuit (regarding last June, when I was stopped on the street and forcibly searched for being a white guy in a black neighborhood). At the hearing, the magistrate point-blank asked the city’s attorneys if the police had the right to ask for ID and search me, to which the city’s attorneys responded, “yes.”
How many times must this behavior be struck down by courts at every level? In New York, a cop cannot ask you for ID without an “articulable reason” (People v. De Bour, 40 NY2d 210). Under federal law, a cop cannot search you without warrant, probable cause, or suspicion that you are armed and dangerous (Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 ); in the last instance, only the minimum search required to show that you are not armed is permissible.
New York City stops and searches something like half a million people annually. It is time that we put a stop to this nonsense, and the courts have given us the tools — we just have to use them.