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NYCs Perp walk gets stop light

Is the made-for-TV-and-photos "perp walk" a "commercial for cops" whose benefit is outweighed by its harm? The U.S. Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit thinks so. In an appeal from a federal court case involving a theft suspect paraded before New York City TV cameras last year, the court held that "such a staged perp walk exacerbates the seizure of the arrestee unreasonably and therefore violates the Fourth Amendment."

The court said that, while "[t]he perp walk both publicizes the police's crime-fighting efforts and provides the press with a dramatic illustration to accompany stories about the arrest..their effect on the 'walked' suspects can be less benign.Indeed, the perp walk has been described as 'a ritual degradation.'"

Contact Dan Trigoboff at (301) 260-0923, fax (202) 463-3742, or e-mail