Samantha Rosenbaum, White Woman Detained in ‘Stop and Frisk,’ Suing NYPD
A young white woman from New Jersey who experienced what hundreds of thousands of blacks and Latinos endure each year– ‘stop and frisk’ policing– is suing the New York Police Department following her harrowing and humiliating ordeal.
The Daily Caller reports Samantha Rosenbaum, a 22-year-old Bard College graduate from Millburn, New Jersey, was walking in the “hipster haven” of Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the middle of the day on her way back to work at the vegan clothing store Vaute Couture last July when she stopped to engage with a kitten she saw. According to a federal lawsuit filed by Rosenbaum in Brooklyn, a plain-clothed man in an unmarked vehicle ordered her to stop. The young woman ignored his command and kept walking until she was approached by the man and a woman who yelled at her for not stopping. The pair also asked her if she had any drugs. Unbeknownst to Rosenbaum, she was about to experience something 449,369 blacks and Latinos (and 50,366 whites) suffered through last year– ‘stop and frisk.’
“This whole time, I didn’t know who these people are,” Rosenbaum told the New York Post. “Finally, after a few minutes, they tell me they were police.”
According to Rosenbaum’s lawsuit, the NYPD officers roughed her up, throwing her against the unmarked police car they were riding in. Rosenbaum, who stands only 5’1″ (155 cm) and weighs just 110 pounds (50 kg), also alleges that a female officer lifted her tank top and searched inside her bra for drugs. She also claims officers “threatened to take [her] down to the police station and write her up for [a] felony.”
The horrifying and humiliating encounter left Rosenbaum in tears.
“I don’t think anyone, no matter what color you are, deserves to be treated like that,” Rosenbaum told the Post.
But as stated earlier, hundreds of thousands of people of color are treated like that every year by the NYPD. City and police officials claim that ‘stop and frisk’ policing is designed to keep guns off the streets. But in 2011, only 0.15 percent of all stops– one out of every 650– resulted in a firearms arrest. In fact, of the 532,911 stops made in 2012, 473,644– 89 percent– were totally innocent of any wrongdoing.
‘Stop and frisk’ has also been called a form of police entrapment. Although marijuana possession was decriminalized in New York more than 35 years ago, public possession of the drug remains a crime. Often NYPD officers who detain suspects during ‘stop and frisk’ stops ask them to empty their pockets. Not knowing their rights or the law, suspects who produce marijuana are then arrested, as the drug is considered to be ‘in public’ once removed from the suspect’s pocket. As a result, New York City arrests more people for marijuana possession than anywhere else on earth– 50,684 people in 2011 alone.
Earlier this year, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled that ‘stop and frisk’ violates the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment prohibition of unreasonable search and seizure.