Wednesday, May 7, 2008


A civil liberties group filed a lawsuit challenging the NYPD's practice of stopping hundreds of thousands of people each year for questioning, saying it is racially biased. The New York Civil Liberties Union lawsuit lists New York Post reporter Leonardo Blair as the sole plaintiff, saying he was stopped and frisked by police officers as he walked from his car to his Bronx home last November. He was taken to a police station, where officers expressed surprise that though he was black, he was not from "the projects," the lawsuit said. Blair has a master's degree from Columbia University. The lawsuit said the NYPD has stopped people in New York nearly 1 million times over the last two years. It said more than half of the people targeted were black, even though blacks make up only about a quarter of the city's population. It asks that the practice be declared unconstitutional. - Boston Globe

A half-dozen Philadelphia police officers kicked and beat three men pulled from a car during a traffic stop as a TV helicopter taped the confrontation. Aerial video captures Philly officers in a confrontation with shooting suspects. . . The tape shows about a dozen officers gathering around the vehicle. About a half-dozen officers hold two of the men on the ground. Both are kicked repeatedly, while one is seen being punched; one also appears to be struck with a baton. The third man is also kicked and ends up on the ground. ABC News

Legislation was offered in the Pennsylvania state Senate Tuesday making it illegal to get a divorce in Pennsylvania. Sen. Vincent Fumo, a Philadelphia Democrat, proposed it as a political antidote to a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage and civil unions. But the Senate yesterday tabled the measure that would define marriage as between a man and a woman or the "functional equivalent." Opponents claim the bill's language would ban civil unions among lesbians and gays. So Fumo -- twice-divorced -- never got to advance his no-divorce proposal. In a news release, he challenged proponents of the marriage amendment who claim they are protecting the sanctity of marriage. If that's the case, then "there's no greater threat to families and to marriage than the high divorce rate," Fumo said. - Brad Bumsted, Pittsburgh Tribune Review


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