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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Column: Stop and frisk needs to stop the frisk

    longislandwins / flickr ( CC BY 2.0)

    A marcher holds up a sign portraying racism in stopping and frisking during a silent march in June 17, 2012. Stop and frisk policies recently came back into the spotlight when Donald Trump mentioned them in a rally speech.

    On Wednesday, Sept. 21, Donald Trump unveiled yet another of his infamous plans to “make America great again.” While talking about the violence in Chicago, Trump proposed the use of stop-and-frisk, a policy which allows police officers to randomly stop civilians and search them.

    While some may think this is a way to prevent violence, there are just a few problems: Racism and the fact that stop-and-frisk is a outright violation of the U.S. Constitution. According to the New York Civil Liberties Union and the NYPD, out of the 22,939 police stops in 2015, 18,353 (80 percent) were completely innocent. Effectiveness of stop-and-frisk aside, there are also statistics regarding race.

    Of the people stopped, 54 percent were black, 29 percent were Latino and only 11 percent were white. In other words, as a white man I would have to be slinking around town in a black hoodie and ski mask with a gun on my belt just to get searched.

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    The problem with stop-and-frisk is that it could only work if done in a way where anyone who looks suspicious, regardless of race, would be searched. Racism, however, is so deeply ingrained in our society that, to many people, dark skin is suspicious itself.

    You don’t often hear about people crossing to the other side of the street for a white man. Until we, as a society, stop seeing skin color as a threat, a policy like stop-and-frisk is going to continue to be primarily an act of racism.

    Of course, racism isn’t the only issue. Regardless of a person’s race, stop-and frisk is a blatant violation of the fourth amendment: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons … against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated …” unless with probable cause and or a written warrant.

    Walking down the street isn’t probable cause, and police shouldn’t be allowed to search anyone without a very specific and valid reason.

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    However, stop-and-frisk gives officers the right to decide who they think is guilty, which as evidenced by the NYPD statistics, they aren’t always very good at.

    Just in case this isn’t evidence enough, on Aug. 12, 2013, Judge Shira Scheindlin of the federal court found New York’s stop-and-frisk policy to be a violation of the fourth amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fournteenth Amendment.

    In the end, an increase in stop-and-frisk policy is only going cause problems and spark outrage, while doing very little to actually benefit the people of the U.S. We should instead look to policing tactics that have already been proven to be effective at stopping crime without disregarding people’s rights. Treating people fairly is an important part of what America is: a place of equal opportunity. Racially profiling anyone is fundamentally against American values.

    Next, we’ll be hearing about phase two of Trump’s plan: Building a wall around Chicago.

    Follow Kaiden Biggs on Twitter

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