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Can someone please help me analyse this article to see if the actions described in it...

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user100400 | (Level 2) Honors

Posted April 22, 2013 at 12:37 AM via web

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Can someone please help me analyse this article to see if the actions described in it are a violation of 4th or any other amendment?

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/18/nyregion/stop-and-frisk-trial-to-open-this-week-in-federal-court.html?_r=1&

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 22, 2013 at 12:59 AM (Answer #1)

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It is, of course, not possible to determine simply from a brief newspaper article whether an amendment has been violated.  The court has been hearing days of testimony to try to determine this. 

What we need to do is look at what would constitute a violation.  The Supreme Court said, in US v. Terry that the police have the right to do “stop and frisk” actions even if they have less than probable cause to arrest someone.  They have to see a person doing something that would reasonably lead them to believe that a crime might be in progress or about to be committed.  If all we have to go on is the description of what happened to Floyd, it seems possible that no violation has occurred.  It is at least reasonable to suspect that a person trying key after key in a lock is up to no good.  However, the exact way in which the stop was carried out matters.  What matters even more is the reasoning for other stops.  It is hard to know what to think based on the very few facts given in the article.

The other amendment that might be being violated is the 14th.  This amendment requires that all people get the “equal protection of the laws.”  If police are specifically targeting minorities for their stops, it could be a violation.  This will be very hard to prove, though, unless there is direct evidence of police saying that they are stopping people because of their race.

Thus, it is very hard to determine if any amendments have been violated, but I believe it will be hard for the plaintiffs to prove their case, particularly with respect to the 14th Amendment.

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