Racial Profiling in Stop-and-Frisk

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According to The Attorney General of New Jersey in 1999, “… determined that searches of cars on the Turnpike were even more racially disparate than the initial stops: 77.2% of all ‘consent’ searches were of minorities and blacks” (Rudovsky, 2001). It is also important to note that according to the New York Civil Liberties Union, “Nearly nine out of 10 stopped-and-frisked New Yorkers have been completely innocent.” With these unfortunate statistics surrounding the stop-and-frisk policy in New York City, it comes to show that police officers are ultimately targeting innocent minorities because of their abuse of authority. Rudovsky also points out that, “American men constitute approximately 7% of the population.’ In 1930, they constituted 22% of all prison admissions; today they comprise 51% of admissions, a rate six times that of white men” (2001, page 314). It is a substantial difference between the whites and minorities that are being targeted by police officers. The idea of this was presented in Ross Tuttle’s documentary, “The Haunted and the Hated: An Inside Look at the NYPD’s Stop-and-Frisk Policy.”

I was intrigued by the idea presented in the film from the beginning. According to Burns, he states that “researchers were interested in understanding how frequently patrol officers engaged in searches, how often their searches met constitutional standards, and what explained the proclivity to search unconstitutionally” (2013, page 335). The studies have shown that “30% of the 115 suspects in the sample were searched unconstitutionally, and few of these cases resulted in arrest or citation” (2013, page 335). I believe that this method of stop-and-frisk is not that successful in terms of helping our community; it has just created an immense amount of tension between our local communities and our police officers. I might want to investigate this speculation in my examination venture: Does the likelihood of power utilized on people amid a Stop and Frisk experience in New York City differ by race?

First of all, in order to support my thesis and establish if whether or not the probability of force used on individuals during a Stop and Frisk encounter in New York City varies by race, I plan to borrow somewhat more profound to understand why the police feel the need to target minorities, and where this ultimately roots from. Without a doubt, there is a large number of variables causing police officers to target minorities and also make this policy of Stop-and-Frisk. Nonetheless, according to Burns, he talks about the Supreme Court Case of Terry v. Ohio (Terry v. Ohio, 1986), and he states that “The Court ruled that officers may detain a person briefly without probable cause that the person committed a crime. It further stated that stopping and frisking an individual is distinct from and do not constitute an arrest despite the restricted freedoms involved” (2013, 329-330). So, it would be logical to assume that the majority of minorities depicted in the documentary, just like a great percentage of minorities in general, are being restricted of their rights and that there does not need to be an actual reason as to why they are being stopped. It is mind-boggling to believe that the government allows this to happen. Why should we have our rights taken away from us? As we know, the Stop-and-Frisk policy violates our Fourth Amendment, and it is repeatedly being questioned and have larger amounts of translation. So, as Burns puts it, “Frisks cannot become ‘fishing expeditions’ to see if the suspects have any evidence that could be used against them” (2013, page 31). Therefore, the police officers presented in the film are just “fishing” for evidence to be used against the innocent minorities and are also finding ways to abuse their power, and potentially causing more damage within the relationships between them and us.

Also, to thoroughly analyze this research topic, I am planning to explore the existing studies and find out the statistics that minorities have been targeted and how that has increased throughout a couple of years. The article that I have used in my first paragraph called, “Law Enforcement by Stereotypes and Serendipity: Racial Profiling and Stops and Searches Without Cause” and I would also like to use another article called, “Street Stops and Broken Windows: Terry, Race, and Disorder in New York City”, in which I will explore in order to find the answers.

All things considered, even though the roots and statistics are found in the immense amount of research, the film alone can speak for itself. The film depicted how police do this to 1800 people a day, that sounds like too much. One of the quotes that an anonymous NYPD veteran stated was that a captain walked into the precinct and gave a speech about violating rights, and he said: “We’re gonna go out there, and we’re gonna violate some rights.” They feel as though they have the right to do as they please, and they know the government has their back. What matters the most to police officers is having their quotas, because according to the film, if you do not meet your quota, the cops will be subjected to disciplinary. They want to meet quotas because they know that someday they will have a higher position, and it will benefit them. Racial bias seems to be a factor within the “Stop-and-Frisk” policy because most of these police officers are stopping men who are Latino and African-Americans; in other words, minorities. According to Rudovsky, he states that “Back to 1996 in Los Angeles, “of the 561 juvenile felony cases transferred to adult court, 5% were white, 6% were Asian, 30% were black, and 59% were Hispanic” (2001, page 316). The legal framework in America has dependably persevered through much distrust concerning whether there is racial profiling among captures. The stop and search approach of the NYPD has caused much discussion and attention since being connected as a result of the unmistakable racial difference in stops. Presently the inquiry remains; Are cops being racially one-sided while picking whom to stop or would they, say they are simply focusing on “high wrongdoing” neighborhoods, in this way picking minorities as a matter of course?

Works Cited

  1. Burns, Ronald G. Policing: A Modular Approach. Pearson, 2013.
  2. Fagan, Jeffrey, and Garth Davies. “Street stops and broken windows: Terry, race, and disorder in New York City.” Fordham Urb. LJ 28 (2000): 457.
  3. Rudovsky, David. “Law enforcement by stereotypes and serendipity: Racial profiling and stops and searches without cause.” U. Pa. J. Const. L. 3 (2001): 296.
  4. “Stop-And-Frisk Data”. New York Civil Liberties Union, 2019, https://www.nyclu.org/en/stop-and-frisk-data. Accessed 14 Apr 2019.
  5. Tuttle, R. (2012). The Hunted and the Hated: An Inside Look at the NYPD’S Stop-and-Frisk Policy (Video File) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rWtDMPaRD8.
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Racial Profiling in Stop-and-Frisk. (2021, May 29). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/racial-profiling-in-stop-and-frisk/

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