Bronx D.A. puts brakes on public housing trespass arrests

Robert Johnson – the Bronx D.A. – has taken the bold step of putting a spanner in the spokes of the street patrols that subject residents of public housing projects to a reign of random searches and, often arrest.  Prosecutors often have trouble remembering that the public, not the police, are their clients.  Cops and prosecutors are, naturally, a team.  But the culture of aggressive patrols which characterizes life on the street for many Black and Hispanic New Yorkers has eroded police (and prosecutors?)  respect for basic principles like the need for reasonable suspicion to stop a person and probable cause for arrest.  One of the nastiest tricks is to stop people,  compel them to empty their pockets, then arresting them for open public possession of the marijuana cigaret the unwarranted search forced into the open.  – GWC
The Times reports:
In the Bronx, Resistance to Prosecuting Stop-and-Frisk Arrests –
by Joseph Goldstein

In a significant blow to New York City’s use of stop-and-frisktactics, the Bronx district attorney’s office is no longer prosecuting people who were stopped at public housing projects and arrested for trespassing, unless the arresting officer is interviewed to ensure that the arrest was warranted.
Prosecutors quietly adopted the policy in July after discovering that many people arrested on charges of criminal trespass at housing projects were innocent, even though police officers had provided written statements to the contrary.
By essentially accusing the police of wrongfully arresting people, the stance taken by Bronx prosecutors is the first known instance in which a district attorney has questioned any segment of arrests resulting from stop-and-frisk tactics…..

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