Thursday, August 04, 2005

NYCLU sues city over subway searches

Told ya so (see previous posts below). From via Drudge:

The suit, which filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, will claimed that the two-week old policy violates constitutional guarantees of equal protection and prohibitions against unlawful searches and seizures, while doing almost nothing to shield the city from terrorism.

It argues that the measure also allows the possibility for racial profiling, even though officers are ordered to randomly screen passengers.
. . .
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the right of law enforcement to conduct random searches, said Barry Kamins, a professor of criminal procedure at Fordham and Brooklyn law schools. But it found that those checks can be considered unlawful if their primary purpose is for law enforcement, such as searching for evidence of a crime. Rather, police must use the stops chiefly to preserve public safety, he said.

The suit comes as elected officials continue to tussled over racial profiling. Nine City Council members Thursday asked Bloomberg to direct officers to note the racial or ethnic identity of people searched.

To be perfectly honest, I agree with the NYCLU in that the current policy is ineffective, but I don't think it's illegal at all, nor do I think that the courts will find it to be illegal. That being said, the reason the random bag searches are ineffective is because they're random, not because they're happening. It's too wide a net, and that's what makes it ineffective. Unfortunately, the current political climate that allows organizations like the NYCLU to file suits against anything they see as "potentially" being a civil rights violation makes it impossible for NYC to do what they should be doing: actively searching those subway passengers who fit a certain set of conditions that the majority of suicide bombers throughout the world have also fit within. You know: profiling. I know, I know, that's a dirty word now, but I said it anyway. I must be an evil person who wants to subjugate your civil rights. Here's my point: The current policy is ineffective, but it's all the city of New York can do, unless they want a special-interest group to shut down any search policy through judicial legislation.

The case for profiling
Response to M.Malkin, re: NYC subway searches
I do not consent to being blown up


  1. First, we must stop pretending that the terrorists so far, by-and-large, have not been of the same ethnic origin. This will reasonably narrow down the search for potential perpetrators. But, it makes ALMOST as little sense to stop every Arab or North African in NYC today as it does to stop every 5th random person. Therefore, the profiling must be even more exact than race to be effective.

    Israel has been perfecting the art of profiling, and has successfully prevented El Al (national airline) hijackings since 1970. The profilers are trained to look for signs of suspicious behavior (body language), which provides effective clues of whom to question. Barring exceptional con artists, body language is a dead give away of suspicious behavior. In fact, police officers are trained to look for such clues when dealing with everyday criminals.

    The results: plenty of Arabs fly El Al, and yet enough people have been turned away to prevent terrorist attacks since 1970.

    So why not fly some Israelis to NYC to train New York’s finest on such tactics?

  2. ditto what she said. . . and check out her blog: