Skip to comments.Stop and Frisk Doesn't Target Minorities, It Protects Them
Posted on 08/23/2013 5:19:37 AM PDT by Kaslin
New York City seems on the verge of making the same mistake that Detroit made 40 years ago. The mistake is to abolish the NYPD practice referred to as stop and frisk.
It's more accurately called stop, question and frisk. People were stopped and questioned 4.4 million times between 2004 and 2012. But the large majority were not frisked.
The effectiveness of this police practice, initiated by Mayor Rudy Giuliani in 1994 and continued by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is not in doubt. The number of homicides -- the most accurately measured crime -- in New York fell from a peak of 2,605 in 1990 to 952 in 2001, Giuliani's last year in office, to just 414 in 2012.
Nevertheless, the three leading Democratic mayoral candidates in the city's September primary all have pledged to end stop and frisk. And last week, federal judge Schira Scheindlin, in a lawsuit brought by 19 men who have been stopped and frisked, found that the practice is unconstitutional and racially discriminatory.
Bloomberg has promised to appeal, and several of Scheindlin's decisions in high-profile cases have been reversed. But the leading Democratic candidates for mayor promise, if elected, to drop the appeal.
The two leading Republican candidates support stop and frisk, but their chances of election seem dim in a city that voted 81 percent for Barack Obama in 2012.
What riles opponents of stop and frisk is that a high proportion of those stopped are young black and Hispanic males. Many innocent people undoubtedly and understandably resent being subjected to this practice. No one likes to be frisked, including the thousands of airline passengers who are every day.
But young black and, to a lesser extent, Hispanic males are far, far more likely than others to commit (and be victims of) violent crimes, as Bloomberg points out. I take no pleasure in reporting that fact and wish it weren't so.
This was recognized by, among others, Jesse Jackson, who in 1993 said, "There is nothing more painful for me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start to think about robbery and then look around and see it's somebody white and feel relieved."
You can get an idea about what could happen in New York by comparing it with Chicago, where there were 532 homicides in 2012. That's more than in New York, even though New York's population is three times as large.
One Chicagoan who supports stop and frisk is the father of Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old girl shot down a week after singing at Barack Obama's second inauguration. "If it's already working, why take it away?" he told the New York Post. "If that was possible in Chicago, maybe our daughter would be alive."
Chicago and New York both have tough gun control laws. But bad guys can easily get guns in both cities.
The difference, as the New York Daily News's James Warren has pointed out, is that frequent stops and frisks combined with mandatory three-year sentences for illegal possession of a gun mean that bad guys in New York don't take them out on the street much.
Stop and frisk makes effective the otherwise ineffective gun control that Bloomberg so strongly supports.
An extreme case of what happens when a city ends stop and frisk is Detroit. Coleman Young, the city's first black mayor, did so immediately after winning the first of five elections in 1973.
In short order Detroit became America's murder capital. Its population fell from 1.5 million to 1 million between 1970 and 1990. Crime has abated somewhat since the Young years, but the city's population fell to 713,000 in 2010 -- just over half that when Young took office.
People with jobs and families -- first whites, then blacks -- fled to the suburbs or farther afield. Those left were mostly poor, underemployed, in too many cases criminal -- and not taxpayers. As a result, the city government went bankrupt last month.
New York has strengths Detroit always lacked. But it is not impervious to decline. After Mayor John Lindsay ended tough police practices, the city's population fell from 7.9 million in 1970 to 7.1 million in 1980.
Those who decry stop and frisk as racially discriminatory should remember who is hurt most by violent crime -- law-abiding residents of high-crime neighborhoods, most of them black and Hispanic, people like Hadiya Pendleton.
Always beware of government officials who maintain that violating your rights is for your own good.
Looks to me like stop and frisk doesn’t drive people out of the cities. Letting the urban ferals run rampant does drive the slightly less feral out of the city and into my neighborhood.
The simple fact is that urban areas have always been places of crime and violence and communities have always responded to those issues in their own way.
Meanwhile I live in a very low crime area where we might see a cop once a month. Laws, ordinances and policies are very much the result of local society and if people create a zoo, they should expect to be treated like apes.
Progov - it’s bad form to post private replies that are on-topic to public posts.
“Apparently we dont all agree. (see below message someone sent me and my response to him was, Apparently you havent been mugged YET).
SampleMan to Progov
I will never welcome being stopped by the police and frisked. Its unconstitutional and free people shouldnt tolerate it. I most certainly dont want my wife and daughters being stopped and groped.
Its a finger in the dike approach to a vast cultural problem.
Why have a requirement for search warrants at all?”
My previous response to you in post 16 was sarcasm to the max. Apparently you missed that.
I agree with SampleMan.
Oh No!! You’ve gone and done it now...never, and I mean never, bring the Constitution into a “discussion” of unwarrented stops, searches, roadblocks etc. What do you want? A bunch of dead children on your hands?
After all, whats a little liberty if we can all just feel a little safer?
Are you arguing for an all out police state? Which of your rights are you going to forfeit to feel "safe" in our dangerous world?
Better yet, why do we have only all or nothing choices? Do you think I'm saying do nothing at all, when I say they're doing too much?
If you're taking away rights, then you seem to be declaring some form of martial law. This may be what is required for many places, like NYC or Detroit, just as curfew laws may be justified in some cases.
Has police work changed such that there aren't ways to protect the many without violating the rights of all?
With government intercourse, I see us doing better with less "protection" than more.
How many of those dangerous cities are the result of GuvCo policies that GuvCo now can't fix?
We, through GuvCo intervention and policy, encourage the conditions and all that come from them.
Less is more when it comes to help from GuvCo.
We have lost our original mission. It's We, the people. Not, we, our GuvCo.
the sad part is that a Terry v Ohio “Stop and Frisk” was originally based on common sense: police detective with a lot of experience sees Terry casing a bank (walking back and forth peering into window and front door but not entering) and decides to approach him. Since Terry was wearing a long overcoat in the middle of summer the detective suspected he was armed so he patted him down and recovered a weapon.
yes, that is a search without a warrant, however SCOTUS decided to carve out a very specific exception due to the detective’s ability to articulate, based on his experience and training and observations of Terry, that he believed Terry was armed.
That very specific exception to the warrant requirement then, of course, began to be pushed at by law enforcement to the point that we were ‘patting down for officer safety’ anyone we came in contact with.
Courts are finally pushing back, noting that Terry did not create an ‘officer safety’ exception and attempting to reign the practice back in to the original, very/highly specific, exception.
Does that make policing more dangerous? Sure.
But until there is a constitutional amendment allowing blanket stop and frisk (which basically eviscerates the 4th Amendment outside one’s home) the practice has to stop.
Freedom is a dangerous proposition, either you are free from government interference which means you are free to be exposed to all sorts of dangerous people and circumstances or you are totally subject to the dangerous people in government.
I prefer the former.
p.s. I was at a rock concert, Fleetwood Mac, in the Twin Cities earlier this year where all males entering the arena (myself included) were stopped and frisked. Did that violate my constitutional rights? I'm an older white male. I don't think it did. Maybe it would you.
I’ve been stopped and questioned or frisked before myself. As a teenager our local cop did it on occasion and kept us out of bigger trouble by doing so. He’d find a joint on me and scrub it into the pavement and take me home while explaining why it was better him than someone else. I didn’t like it but I liked him and knew he was right about other cops would have dealt with it.
I’ve been pulled over in the middle of the night a few times as well by cops who claimed my car looked like one they were looking for. Its been quite a few years now but middle aged men aren’t a major source of crime and I’m usually home before 10.
A few months back I met an old man in Detroit carrying a bag of groceries with an AR-15 slung across his back. The cops drove by and slowed down while we talked but didn’t stop. Funny thing is that the cops were probably more interested in me because I was the white guy in a very rough black neighborhood. The cops knew the old guy and knew the pastor I was there with.
A much better bet would be for a NY gun liberty act, followed with the NYPD organizing honest minority citizens to be safely armed, individually and as armed neighborhood watch groups.
Heck, even if they issued them Tasers and cheap, $10 stun guns, it would have a huge impact against crime.
I certainly don't mind profiling. Giving greater scrutiny to those fitting the profile of those currently committing crime is simply good police work, and I can give some leeway to paying greater attention to, and even stopping those currently in the system or under scrutiny. To my thinking, they started it.
However, as soon as GuvCo starts stopping and searching people on the streets, laying hands upon individuals without warrant or probable cause, breaking and entering with a no-knock raid, warrantless wiretapping or any other such war on human nature and individual rights as innumerated in our Constitution "just because" then, in my humblest of opinions, we are doing it wrong.
The more of those types of things you allow, the more you'll accept and eventually end up with.
The world has changed quite a bit from when Fleetwood Mac was first popular as a result of feeding that camel. Now, we're damn near sleeping with it.
Well that’s just it...how much security do you want and safety from government overreach? As I’ve said, nobody likes to be frisked. I didn’t like being frisked at the London airport, and I didn’t like the far less intrusive one at the concert. But I understand the need for public safety. However, like I stated, the constitution is not a suicide pact. If the police were stopping and frisking people at random in my community (which has an extremely low crime rate,) I’d be upset. But we don’t have a high crime rate. If the NYC SAF had not lowered the murder rate, I’d protest that as well. But the policy in NBC has dramatically lowered the rate. Again the constitution is not a suicide pact.
To my perspective, we now favor the rights of the criminal over the rights of the honest citizen, encouraging the actions of the first, while encouraging the control of the latter.
To me, this equation always comes up with the wrong answer.
The Constitution isn't a suicide pact, but the above equation is.
Sin attracts evil. The more we allow, the more we attract, the more we have.
“Those who decry stop and frisk as racially discriminatory should remember who is hurt most by violent crime — law-abiding residents of high-crime neighborhoods, most of them black and Hispanic, people like Hadiya Pendleton.”
At what point will you determine the Danube has been crossed and the citizens overwhelmed?
This whole self government thing is HARD. Tough decisions.
The politicians/neighbors just wanted cool stationery, big office, power and an ego boost.
Thank God we are not running. This one is tough.
“Stop and frisk” is still a violation of the 4th amendment
Blacks are not minorities in Detroit, so you could be right