NYPD Subject Record Number of People to  “STOP  &  FRISK” in 2008

In 2008 over half a million people in New York City were subjected to “STOP &  FRISK” by  New York City Police Department officers – that is over 500,000 individuals !  It is an all time record.   There are not many cities in the United States whose entire population reaches that number.

Similarly, the number of complaints the CCRB (Civil Complaint Review Board) expects to receive in 2009 is over 8,200.  This, too, is a record, and matches the increasing number of “STOP & FRISKS” that are taking place.

The job of the CCRB is to investigate complaints that usually deal with everything from Police Officers using obscenity to their use of excessive force and false arrests.  If charges are substantiated by the CCRB, then the matter is referred to the Police Department for further possible disciplinary action against the offending police officer.

Stop and Frisks on the Rise along with Complaints but NYPD disciplinary action Declining

Now here is the strange fact: While the number of “STOP & FRISKS” and complaints to the CCRB have been rising dramatically, the number of cases that the Police Department has decided to prosecute, after receiving them from the CCRB, have been drastically reduced !   In 2005 the NYPD refused to prosecute 2% of the cases forwarded by the CCRB.  By 2008 the percentage of cases the NYPD refused to prosecute rose to 33%–and for 2009 the percentage of refusals to prosecute is currently at 40% !

Keep in mind that cases referred by the CCRB to the NYPD for prosecution are only those cases where the CCRB has substantiated some or all of the charges lodged by a civilian against a police officer.   Yet the percent of police officers against whom charges have been substantiated, that end up being disciplined by the NYPD, decreases.

An attorney experienced in handling POLICE MISCONDUCT cases is NEVER influenced solely by any action of either the CCRB or the NYPD.    A knowledgeable attorney will rely on his or her own experience and investigation to determine the merit of a client’s case.  Experience will tell an attorney that inaction, or lack of substantiation, by either the CCRB or the NYPD with respect to charges brought against a police officer is certainly not the final determinant as to whether a client’s case can be successful.


Arizona v. Gant – U.S. Supreme Court

Arrest After the Search of a Vehicle
False Arrest and Probable Cause

Arizona  v.  Gant
U.S. Supreme Court–April 21, 2009

On April 21, 2009. the United States Supreme Court changed the rules which determine if there was “probable cause” sufficient to create a legal, as opposed to a “false”, arrest.

For all those drivers, or other vehicle occupants,  that are stopped in  vehicles for a traffic infraction, the rule for the past 28 years has allowed a police officer to search the car involved.   If the officer found evidence of a totally unrelated crime, such as an illegal drug or unlicensed weapon, then an arrest based on that evidence in the car would be legal.

That rule has now been tightened with Arizona vs Gant.

Under the new rules in Arizona vs Gant, a vehicle search will only be permitted under two conditions: if the person being arrested can reach into the car to grab a weapon or tamper with evidence the police offer reasonably believes to be in the car or, the police officer believes there is evidence in the car that is directly relevant to the crime for which the occupant was arrested .  Just arresting an occupant of a vehicle, by itself, is no longer grounds to permit a police search of a vehicle.

If, for example, a marijuana cigarette is found when the police search a vehicle after having stopped the vehicle because of an illegal turn, an arrest  based on that marijuana cigarette would no longer be deemed to be based on “probable cause” and the arrest based on the marijuana cigarette would not be legal.

It is, of course,more important than ever to discuss possibilities of  a “false arrest” with competent legal counsel.