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Will the NYPD Stop Making Traffic Stops?

San Antonio, Texas, USA
By Ashley Ravid on October 14, 2020 1:43 PM

New York State Attorney General Letitia James has now recommended that New York police cease making regular traffic stops, because of the chance that they will escalate to violence.

Why the Change?

Last year New York police performed a routine traffic stop where they believed the motorists were not wearing seat belts, though video would later prove that the men were. The incident ended with police fatally shooting Allan Feliz, whose family would later file a wrongful death suit.

The Attorney General's office found the use of deadly force justified in Feliz's case because of the possible danger posed to a nearby officer. But it also noted that Feliz's death could have been avoided if police hadn't pulled him over.

Critics of traffic stop policies say that, like stop-and-frisk, these practices discriminate against Black and Latinx people and provoke violence.

Instead of police officers pulling drivers over for issues like speeding, James's office recommends that police officers should only arrest motorists with open warrants if it is believed that they pose a danger to the surrounding community.

What's Next From James?

James's office is not attempting to force the NYPD to change its practices, instead merely issuing a recommendation. This means that routine traffic stops will continue unless the police choose to cease them.

James recently made headlines for filing a lawsuit against the National Rifle Association, as well as announcing an investigation into the death of a woman hit by an NYPD car.

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