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The New York Daily News recently abandoned its longstanding support of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) now-unconstitutional stop and frisk program, acknowledging that their doomsaying predictions that crime would spiral without it were incorrect. Will Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly, another ardent supporter of the program, continue clinging to his fact-free defense, or will he follow suit?
After a federal judge ruled the program, which gave police officers wide-ranging authority to stop people on the streets, to question and frisk them for suspected weapons and other contraband, unconstitutional in 2012, the Daily News editorial board warned that the ruling “threatens to push the city back toward the ravages of lawlessness and bloodshed.” In an August 8 editorial, the board admitted that this has not happened. The board wrote “we are delighted to say that we were wrong,” and explained that on the third anniversary of a federal judging ruling the program unconstitutional, “New York is safer while friction between the NYPD and the city’s minority communities has eased.”
As the Daily News has now acknowledged, violent crime in New York City has continued to fall since stop and frisk was ended. That shouldn’t be a surprise -- since the program’s inception, research had consistently shown it was not only ineffective in stopping crime, but was also discriminatory. The federal judge who ruled the program unconstitutional in 2013 determined that "at least 200,000 stops were made without reasonable suspicion," which "resulted in the disproportionate and discriminatory stopping of blacks and Hispanics in violation of the Equal Protection Clause." Between 2003 and 2013, 86 percent of stops were of black and Latino New Yorkers, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU). Despite the high number “of young black and Latino men stopped,” the NYCLU reported, “89.7 percent were innocent.”
But the Daily News editorial board wasn’t alone in defending the policy -- O’Reilly was a leading advocate for stop and frisk, warning that “it's a fact that if you take stop-and-frisk away, more black Americans and more Hispanic Americans are going to die."
Now that the New York Daily News has admitted its fault in previously endorsing New York’s stop and frisk policy, noting that crime rates in New York City have hit record lows since the program was scaled back -- will O’Reilly continue to buck the facts or follow suit?