False Arrest and the NYPD’s Stop and Frisk Policy

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Two years ago, Kenrick Gray, an African-American resident of Staten Island, was aggressively stopped and frisked by a NYPD officer named Michael Daragjati. Although he didn’t find any weapons or contraband on Gray, Dargjati took Gray into custody after he complained about the way he was treated during the stop and frisk. He ended up arresting Gray based on fabricated charges that Gray had resisted arrest, bragging to an associate that he had “fried another nigger.” Gray ended up spending 36 hours in prison as a result of Dargjati’s actions, and filed a lawsuit because of it. In the end, Daragjati was sentenced to nearly five years in prison at Brooklyn federal court in June of 2012 for his involvement in both the false arrest incident and an unrelated extortion case, and was stripped of his badge.

About the NYPD’s Stop and Frisk Program

Gray was a victim of the NYPD’s controversial stop and frisk program, which is being challenged both in the courts and in City Council chambers. A stop and frisk—also commonly known as “stop, question and frisk”—occurs when a police officer approaches an individual in public, asks questions and conducts a pat-down search for concealed weapons or drugs. A police officer can conduct a stop and frisk if he or she reasonably suspects a person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. According to the Wall Street Journal, over 5 million stops were conducted by the NYPD since mayor Michael Bloomberg took office in 2002. Bloomberg, an advocate of stop and frisk, says that the program has been essential to New York’s low crime rates over the past few decades, and that suspension of the program could lead to dire consequences regarding public safety. 

How Stop & Frisk Practices Could Lead to False Arrest

The main reason that the New York Police Department’s stop and frisk policies are under the spotlight is because of situations when stop and frisk is taken to extreme and unnecessary measures. While many critics of the NYPD’s stop and frisk policies have centered their complaints on the program’s association with racial profiling, police harassment and police discrimination, there have been examples of stop & frisk incidents that have led to false arrest—such as in the case of Kenrick Gray. According to the CATO Institute’s most recent study on police misconduct, 6.8% of all documented police misconduct complaints were centered on false arrest, ranking as the fourth most-popular category of policy brutality and abuse complaints behind excessive force, sexual misconduct, and fraud/theft. That is why it is important to be knowledgeable about false arrest, and to know what your legal options are in the event you need to file a claim.

What to Look Out For Regarding False Arrest

Although police officers are granted arrest powers under the law, certain standards need to be met in order for an officer to conduct a legal arrest. For example, a person can be approached and arrested if an appropriate court has issued an arrest warrant. An arrest, however, can also occur

  • If an officer is authorized to arrest someone based on reasonable or probable cause that the individual was involved in a criminal offense.
  • If an officer believes that a suspected felon or criminal is attempting to flee the scene of where a felony or other indictable offense had occurred.

Any of these conditions could motivate a police officer to stop, frisk and arrest someone, but if you find that you have been placed in jail for over 24 hours due to reasons that are not fully explained, you may have the legal standing necessary to file a claim based on false arrest.

Are you a victim of false arrest as a result of stop and frisk, or know of someone who is? Contact us to set up a free consultation with one of our experienced New York false arrest attorneys. Our lawyers have had much success involving New York false arrest cases and false arrest lawsuits, and can help determine whether you should file a false arrest claim against the police.