Stop And Frisk Ruling Could Address Conditions In Public Housing
TUESDAY, AUGUST 20, 2013

Federal District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin's landmark ruling in the stop and frisk case could address problems in public housing developments, Steven Banks, the Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society, told the New York Daily News. The Legal Aid Society is co-counsel in another federal lawsuit before Judge Sheindlin challenging unlawful trespass arrests of New York City Housing Authority residents and their guests in NYCHA housing developments. There are particular concerns for NYCHA residents and their visitors, Banks said. “It's outrageous enough to be stopped and frisked," Banks said, but “[i]magine if you or your family members or friends . . . were stopped and actually arrested in your own home."




New York Daily News
Stop-and-frisk judge will lay down law on wrongful NYCHA arrests
By Daniel Beekman
August 16, 2013

U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin shook up the city this week with her ruling that NYPD's stop-and-frisk practice was unconstitutional — now she will review a simliar NYCHA case.

She laid down the law on street stops. Next up: public housing.

Shira Scheindlin, the federal judge who ruled Monday that the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practice is unconstitutional, is preparing to try a related case brought by New York City Housing Authority residents and their visitors.

The lawsuit — filed in 2010 by more than a dozen people and set for trial in October — challenges stops and arrests in NYCHA developments.

Like the stop-and-frisk plaintiffs, the NYCHA plaintiffs are seeking a class action judgment against unlawful policing and racial profiling.

They claim NYCHA residents and visitors are wrongfully stopped or arrested for trespass based on their race -- not for breaking the law.

The NYCHA lawsuit will move ahead because it differs in important ways from the stop-and-frisk case decided Monday.

That involves street stops. The NYCHA case deals with stops where people live, and it takes aim at arrests as well as stops.

Johanna Steinberg of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, a lawyer for the NYCHA plaintiffs, called Monday's decision "only one step forward.”

She said her suit is the next step.

Many trespass arrests result from the vertical sweeps that cops conduct in NYCHA buildings, which amount to "roving pedestrian checkpoints," the plaintiffs claim.

Lisa Piggott, 40, the mother of a NYCHA plaintiff, praised Scheindlin for ruling that the NYPD profiles based on race.

"For those of us who live in public housing, this is not news," said Piggott, whose son was arrested for trespass while visiting a friend and later had his charges dismissed.

But Heidi Grossman, a senior city lawyer, said the city “expects the evidence at trial to establish that the NYPD’s trespass enforcement policy in NYCHA buildings is lawful and designed to keep all residents of public housing safe and secure.”

"The policy was developed in consultation with tenant leaders to meet the critical goals of addressing crime conditions while fully respecting the rights of tenants and their guests."

Steve Banks of The Legal Aid Society, a lawyer for the NYCHA plaintiffs, said Monday's stop-and-frisk ruling could improve conditions in public housing.

But Banks noted “particular concerns for NYCHA residents and their visitors.”

“It's outrageous enough to be stopped and frisked," Banks said. “Imagine if you or your family members or friends ... were stopped and actually arrested in your own home."

Scheindlin drew the wrath of Mayor Bloomberg with her ruling Monday, and the city plans to appeal the decision Friday.

The judge may anger him again when she takes up the NYCHA case.

In a preliminary opinion in March that allowed the suit to move forward, Scheindlin cited testimony from a tenant leader who compared NYCHA with living in a "penal colony."

NYCHA tenants have themselves asked for more cops at times. But if the NYPD is violating the Constitution, it "must stop," Scheindlin wrote.