Judges Gavel

A city law in Manhattan helps those who feel they've been racially profiled by the police by making it easier for them to sue the officers and the department. However, police unions said that it should be taken down because it contradicted the already-existing state laws. Specifically, the two laws in question are Local Law 71 and the state-level Criminal Procedure Law. The passing of Local Law 71 happened in 2013.

The case went before the Manhattan Appellate Division, and they recently ruled that there is no contradiction. The law will stay.

Race as the Main Factor

According to the judge in the case, the debate centered on whether or not the determinative factor, when police were deciding if they could stop an individual and then frisk that person, could be race. The question was whether or not the state law allowed that to be the main factor. The judge simply said that it could not be.

Law Confusion

Opponents of the law did not agree with the ruling, but they did not say the disagreement was because they wanted to use race as the main reason to stop people. Instead, they claimed that the city laws and state laws were now a confusing patchwork. They claimed that they wanted things to be more uniform from one side of New York to the other, rather than having different regulations inside Manhattan. They also said that other cities could start passing similar laws, and they said that could make things even more confusing, in turn, making it harder and more dangerous for police officers to do their jobs.

On the other hand, supporters said that the law was important because it would keep the police from discriminating against certain people on a basis of race.

Suing the Police

This ruling is very big for those who feel they have been discriminated against by the police, who are not supposed to judge people's potential guilt or innocence just because of their race. The ruling means that the protections given by the law will stand and lawsuits can proceed. Those who want to start such lawsuits need to know their rights and the legal steps they need to take.

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