Bloomberg: Stop and Frisk
According to the New York ACLU, ” At the height of stop-and-frisk in 2011 under the Bloomberg administration, over 685,000 people were stopped. Nearly nine out of 10 stopped-and-frisked New Yorkers have been completely innocent. (BF theirs).”
Is the New York ACLU asleep? One out of ten was armed or transporting drugs and probably both! Worse, in New York City. 68,500 arrests in two neighborhoods! Those stats sound like they were collected in a Mexican border city. Perhaps the other Democratic candidates are angry at the practical racism of stop and frisk, but what about middle white America? What would they think about the 10% arrest rate, which would certainly not happen in their town or neighborhood?
I grew up knowing African Americans who lived in the Watts area of Los Angeles, and their parents felt like they were living in a war zone. They kept their kids home at night. Would anyone want their kids to go on the streets knowing that one and 10 is armed and probably selling drugs?
Brady campaign: Every year, 7,782 children and teens are shot in the United States.
Reality: African-American children and teens are more than eight times more likely to die from firearm homicide than their white counterparts.
I posted this topic because I want to know how many of you on this website feel that Bloomberg was wrong to increase stop and frisk. I know that middle-class white America would be appalled that one out of ten males were carrying guns and drugs in their town or neighborhood.
BTW, growing up in East Los Angeles, it was not uncommon for teenagers who were cruising to be stopped and frisked. I was stopped at least ten times, and once, three times in the same night. It was no big deal to be put against a wall and frisked.
This topic is a third rail. No one will touch it. I have my opinions and experiences with stop and frisk, but I don’t think I’ll share them here unless others are brave enough to comment. “Everyone” knows the only PC acceptable opinion or fact on this subject.
“Is the New York ACLU asleep? One out of ten was armed or transporting drugs and probably both! Worse, in New York City. 68,500 arrests in two neighborhoods! Those stats sound like they were collected in a Mexican border city.”
Transporting drugs can mean many things including a little cannabis – who cares. Maybe they lumped “drugs” and weapons together to obscure how few actually had guns.
I would consider it a very big deal if I were shoved up against a wall and frisked.
Stop-question-frisk, which the Supreme Court of the United States has found to be constitutional, is an important part of that record of success. It has taken some 8,000 guns off the streets over the past decade, and some 80,000 other weapons.
Supreme Court Ruling, interesting, which indicates that the stop and frisk policy in NY City was unconstitutional.
Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), was a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in which the Court ruled that the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures is not violated when a police officer stops a suspect on the street and frisks him or her without probable cause to arrest, if the police officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime and has a reasonable belief that the person “may be armed and presently dangerous.”
For their own protection, after a person has been stopped, police may perform a quick surface search of the person’s outer clothing for weapons if they have reasonable suspicion that the person stopped is armed. This reasonable suspicion must be based on “specific and articulable facts” and not merely upon an officer’s hunch. This permitted police action has subsequently been referred to in short as a “stop and frisk,” or simply a “Terry frisk”. The Terry standard was later extended to temporary detentions of persons in vehicles, known as traffic stops; see Terry stop for a summary of subsequent jurisprudence.
The rationale behind the Supreme Court decision revolves around the understanding that, as the opinion notes, “the exclusionary rule has its limitations.” The meaning of the rule is to protect persons from unreasonable searches and seizures aimed at gathering evidence, not searches and seizures for other purposes (like prevention of crime or personal protection of police officers).
I was stopped and frisked back in the early 60s before the Supreme Court decision.
Here is The Problem. In conjunction with political leaders,
“Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), was a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in which the Court ruled that the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures is not violated when a police officer stops a suspect on the street and frisks him or her without probable cause to arrest, if the police officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime and has a reasonable belief that the person “may be armed and presently dangerous.”
For their own protection, after a person has been stopped, police may perform a quick surface search of the person’s outer clothing for weapons if they have reasonable suspicion that the person stopped is armed. This reasonable suspicion must be based on “specific and articulable facts” and not merely upon an officer’s hunch. This permitted police action has subsequently been referred to in short as a “stop and frisk,” or simply a “Terry frisk”. The Terry standard was later extended to temporary detentions of persons in vehicles, known as traffic stops; see Terry stop for a summary of subsequent jurisprudence.”
Almost everybody I’ve ever talked to about “stop and frisk” has agreed it’s reasonable and should be legal after I explain it to them. Most opposition to the practice, in my experience, comes from people who have a very warped view of what it is or are just virulently anti-law and order. Almost no one <enjoys> being stopped by the police (on foot or in their car), but after they understand the reason they almost always, at least grudgingly, admit the police were acting properly. However, I’m not defending those police officers who use this legal doctrine inappropriately and without sufficient reasonable suspicion. Neither am I defending anything a politician like Bloomberg has said.
What do you think about this scenario? Something like it happens hundreds of times a day across the US. Local police receive a 9-1-1 dispatch stating that a white male just committed an armed robbery with a gun at the local bank. The suspect drove away from the bank east on Elm St in a silver colored Subaru. Hoping to see the suspect on Elm St., Officer Smith is driving west on Elm St. toward the bank when he sees a silver Subaru coming toward him. At the last second, he sees that a white male is driving, performs a u-turn, and speeds up to catch up with the Subaru. Officer Smith signals the driver to stop with his lights and sirens. When the driver of the Subaru pulls over, Officer Smith informs radio of his situation and asks for back up. When Officer Smith’s back up arrives they perform a “felony car stop” in which the driver is ordered out of his car at gunpoint and ordered to get out of his car and lay down on the ground. The driver complains loudly that he didn’t do anything and that he’s wearing an expensive suit. Officer Smith repeats his order that the driver get out of his car and lay down on the ground. Finally, getting the driver’s compliance, Officer Smith and Officer Reynolds cautiously approach the driver, stand him up, lean him up against the hood of his car and frisk him for weapons. (Remember: the 9-1-1 caller said the robber had a gun when he robbed the bank.). The officers don’t find a gun on the suspect but handcuff him just in case. Officer Smith holds on to the driver while Officer Reynolds looks inside the car for any weapons. Then Officer Smith asks the officers at the bank to bring a witness over to his location to see if the male he has stopped is the bank robber or not. When the witness arrives, she says, “No, that’s not him.” Officer Smith explains the whole situation to the driver and tells him he is free to go. That’s a classic example of a “stop and frisk.” The officers were exemplary in their actions which followed the law and their training. Nevertheless, the driver might file a complaint against Officer Smith, perhaps even a lawsuit.
The original Terry v. Ohio did not involve a call to 9-1-1 about a crime in progress. The officer involved was on routine patrol when he observed two males who, for several reasons, seemed to the officer to be up to something suspicious and illegal. So here’s another common example of a “stop and frisk” that does not involve anyone calling 9-1-1. Officer Smith and Officer Reynolds are working in plain clothes in an unmarked car assigned by their supervisor to patrol an urban neighborhood experiencing a surge in day time residential burglaries. The Officers are aware that the large majority of the recent burglaries have involved forced entries into the rear of the properties which are accessible only by narrow alleyways. Based on their experience, they know that most residents never use their back door, walk down the alley and emerge on the street, except perhaps on days when they put their trash cans out for pick up. While on patrol Officers Smith and Reynolds see an apparently teenage black male emerge from an alley and it’s not the right day to put out trash cans and the male doesn’t have a trash can. However, the male is carrying a backpack and it’s a school day so if he’s a juvenile he should be in school. Officers Smith and Reynolds stop their car and order the male coming out of the alley to stop. They intend by their investigation to find out if he is indeed truant from school and possibly involved in a burglary into one of the houses on the block. The male immediately runs away but Officers Smith and Reynolds eventually catch him two blocks away. The officers put the suspect against a wall and frisk his clothing and back pack before questioning him just in case he has a weapon. No weapon is detected and their questioning reveals the male is 17 years old and therefore not subject to the truancy laws. Officer Reynolds asks other officers to come over and walk down the alley to see if any of the houses appear to have been broken into. The officers conduct a records check on this male (who is detained against his will in the back of the police car) and discover he has no current arrest warrants but has two previous arrests: one for possession of marijuana and one for stealing a car. The officers are suspicious about the male’s lame story about why he was in the alley where he doesn’t live, but since they have no evidence to arrest him, they release him. As he is walking away, the 17 year old male rants at the top of his voice that the police are racist and they only stopped him because he’s black. He yells that he’s been stopped by the police “for no reason” three times in the last week.
Do these two examples of “stop and frisk” make sense to you? Are these the kinds of actions you expect your police officers to be performing? Most people would say, “Yes.” But now think about these two scenarios from the perspectives of the two males who were stopped. To them, it probably seemed the police just picked them at random for unlawful harrassment.
In today’s highly charged anti-police political environment, police are hearing that the loudest parts of society don’t want them doing “stop and frisks” anymore. When those voices include their own mayor, district attorney, and other local leaders, many of them decide to stop taking pro-active actions on patrol to prevent crime and apprehend criminals. Instead, they just park their patrol cars and wait to receive a 9-1-1 call, and when it comes they respond leisurely hoping not to have to confront any suspects and get accused of stopping people “for no reason” or “racism” or “excessive use of force.” Crime inevitably begins to rise.
Terry V. Ohio required there be a reasonable suspicion for a police officer to stop an individual. Under Bloomberg’s stop and frisk, individuals were stopped simply because of location, sex, race, and appearance. The judge did not consider those criteria as reasonable and therefore not constitutional.
To the writer who feels that being stopped and frisked is a big deal. It is the first time. Having been frisked at least ten times in my youth, after the first couple it was just an annoyance. During recent years, I have been frisked a half dozen times at the airport. Although I am a senior, a couple of times I had to dump my carry-on bag and backpack and open every container including unscrewing the tube of toothpaste. My petite wife had a chemical test on her shoes in Mexico City!