Criminal InJustice† is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI. Criminal InJustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm CST.
The City that Never Stops Frisking
by nancy a heitzeg
The City that Never Stops Frisking.
NYPD’s controversial stop and frisk policy is again under scrutiny. Despite decades of expressed concern, stops and frisks continue to escalate.
This, despite no evidence that such practices have any impact on crime. Stop and frisk policies are highly inefficient – NYPD finds “contraband” in only about 2% of all cases. An, nearly 700,000 stops have produced about 800 guns.
Legal scholars have long considered these stops to be unconstitutional; nearly all stops occur without sufficient legal grounds for suspicions. “Furtive movement” is the most common reason cited by police.
And of course, it is the furtive movement of young Black and Latino men that is the target of police attention. The racial disparity in NYPD stops is nothing short of stunning. Blacks and Latino represent the overwhelming majority of stops, and are more likely than whites to be subjected to extensive frisks, be issued citations, and to encounter excessive police use of force during said stops.
NYPD is not the only city that practices racial profiling and aggressive stop and frisk policy under the pretext of “crime control”. Far from it — this is a nation-wide malaise.
Racial profiling is a failed police tactic has been roundly condemned for more than 2 decades. I don’t have the time to fully cite and link two decades worth of research and outrage now – but trust me, it is out there.
Taxpayers – even those hypnotized by “fear of crime” and calls for “law and order” – need to realize that all constitutional questions aside, aggressive stop and frisk and so-called public order policing is nothing but a waste of time and resources.