New York News
Bronx DA to stop taking 'Stop and Frisk' cases
NEW YORK (WABC) -- There's a big blow to the NYPD's "Stop and Frisk" policy.
One local District Attorney is refusing to take many of the cases to trial.
The Bronx DA says he will no longer prosecute many of the people arrested at public housing projects for trespassing.
It's the latest blow to the NYPD policy critics claim unfairly targets minorities.
The huge apartment complex, River Park Towers, welcomes police.
But lawyers say a program called "Clean Halls" is out of control there and across the city. Police patrol in these private buildings to make them safer.
"There's nothing wrong at all with police patrolling in the buildings or outside the buildings. What's troubling is police officers are under the mistaken impression that simply because buildings are enrolled in the program they can stop anyone they like and demand identification," said Alexis Karteron, NYCLU Attorney.
The Civil Liberties Union is now suing police; within just 10 minutes of Eyewitness News' visit there, we heard all kinds of complaints about police.
"I don't think it makes it safer. No. Because all they're doing is harassing people for no apparent reason. I went out with my kids' mom to the corner store and they just jumped out and said, 'Can I see what's in your pockets?'" said Anthony Olivireri, a River Park Tenant.
"When you need them they're not there. When you don't need them they're right there. And they're doing things that they're not supposed to be doing," said Melinda Marquardt, a River Park Tenant.
The complaints are so bad the Bronx DA recently wrote to police, "We will no longer accept trespass cases based on police deposition paperwork. Each trespass arrest will require the arresting officer to be interviewed by an Assistant DA."
"So what this policy shows is that the Bronx DA's office is concerned about bad stops and arrests made without any justification at all," Karteron said.
Sources say this case is already having a huge impact on police and their "Stop and Frisk" program. City Councilman Jumaane Williams says he doesn't' want "Stop and Frisk" nor "Clean Halls" to go away, he just wants it all fixed.
"So what we're saying is stop the people who need to be stopped because we have reasonable suspicion. Not because they're black and Latino," Williams said.
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