By Boli Bencosme
LAW 101 – 50271
2012 Summer 2 Session
Prof. John Paul
“Stop and Frisk” is a program put into effect by the New York Police Department that basically grants an officer authority to stop and search a “suspicious character” if they deem him/her to be as such. They don’t need a warrant, or see you commit a crime. 5They simply need to deem you “suspicious” to violate your 4th amendment rights without repercussions. Since its inception, New York City’s stop and frisk program has drawn much controversy stemming from the disproportionate rate of arrest. While the argument that the program violates an individual’s 4th amendment right of protection from unreasonable search and seizure could absolutely be made, that argument pales in comparison to the argument of discrimination. A disproportionate number of African Americans and Hispanics are unreasonably stopped and searched simply for looking suspicious. The original intention of this program was to reduce the level of crime (which it has) and to crack down on illegal weapons. It has now become an excuse for police to play with their authority and target innocent people.
1In 2002, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 97,296 times. 80,176, or 82 percent, were innocent. That means that out of 10 people stopped, about 8 were not just innocent, but were being unreasonably harassed by a figure of authority that could probably be assisting in a more exigent situation. In 2010, those numbers skyrocketed to 601,285 people stopped. Of those stopped, 518,849, or 88%, were found to be innocent. The shocking thing about this is the demographics of those stopped. 315,083, or 54%, were black, 189,326, or 33%, were Hispanic, while only 54,810 or 9%, were white. Despite the fact that there are 3,646,109 white people living in New York City in 2010 (44.6% of the NYC population for 2010), only 9%