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.'"
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