Stop and Frisk: the Racial Profiling in the Police

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Police officers have one duty it is to protect and help every person in need no matter what color or height. Sometimes, completing task can be hard for officers but it’s their job to accomplish safety for others. The Stop and frisk programs are created to stop crimes before they start. Stop and Frisk is when law enforcement officer has the power to detain and question a suspicion person in order to prevent crime. According to White there was a huge case that caused the supreme court to allow a person to be patted down and searched(White.2016). The supreme court made an important decision to introduce Stop and Frisk in 1968 after the 1963 Terry v. Ohio Case. The case involved 2 men in Ohio one was named Jerry W. Terry he was stopped by an officer because he looked as if he was casing a store to rob it. 

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The officer followed the two men and then he patted them down and found that the two men had pistols in their jackets. According to (White 2016)after the officer discovered they had pistols they were arrested. This program was the continued and seen as successful and effective to prevent crime. Stop and Frisk program has many pros and cons it can prevent people from breaking the peace in communities. However, This program can open the door for racial profiling according to Fradella mainly minorities are placed under automatic suspicion. Almost seventy-six percent of people that were stopped and questions were innocent and had nothing on them at all. This program was very favored by the New York City police department but there is some concern about targeting mainly blacks and Hispanic neighborhoods when using the Stop and Frisk routine. The New York Police Department has shown clear racial disparity when they stop people. Many people question authority, and if the New York Police Department is being biased when choosing who they stop? According to (Dunn.2012) legal and political concerns are raised across the country about police harassment. 

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects any citizen from illegal search and seizure, and people have the right to feel secure and safe. Officers have to follow certain rules when stopping and interacting with individuals. According to (Brandl.2018) a law enforcement officer should have limited authority when stopping someone they may not frisk everyone. Most urban cities have gravitated towards Stop and Frisk and it has shown to be effective but biased. The Stop and Frisk program has become the poster child of policing for cities like Chicago and New York. According to (Stern.2016) on August 23,2013 Judge Shira Scheindlin said that the NYPD had engaged in a practice of unconstitutional stops and frisks. According to (Wright.2014) boys in Brooklyn were stopped by police officers almost every day after walking home from school. Stopping young Black boys just because they’re black is racial profiling. There are been many complaints about Stop and Frisk policing, but now it has become a regular procedure of routine police work all over the country. According to (Wright.2014) between the years 2004 to 2012 the New York Police department documented over four million stops. Eighty-Seven percent of those stops were black individuals and about half of them ended in an arrest with no probable cause. According to (Stern.2016) August 12, 2013 there was a major court case against the New York Police Department’s Stop and Frisk policy and routine. The case was called Floyd v. City of New York and it was a lawsuit against police commissioner and the Mayor Michael Bloomberg. 

The case focused on the lack of any unnecessary suspicion to stop and pat down citizen because of racial disparities. This was seen as a violation of the fourth and fourteenth amendment. Normally after officers stopped individuals, they questioned them, and they often conducted frisks for any kind of weapons that may cause harm or be used to threaten people. The police would also search pockets and jackets for drugs without any kind of legal authority to do so. This case made headlines because it addressed the elephant in the room the possibility that police might be targeting minorities on purpose. According (Worrall.2019) the Judge decided that the City took on a policy of indirect racial profiling by targeting specific race groups based off of a local crime suspect data. It resulted in stops that targeted only Blacks and Hispanics. This was a violation of the Equal protection Clause. After looking at the statistical and anecdotal evidence it revealed minorities are definitely treated differently than white people. Of course, and that wasn’t a huge surprise because minorities are painted as violent and dangerous. While if you’re a Whit person you’re perfect and pure and you can do no wrong. However, Floyd v. City of New York is still today probably one of the most famous case because it’s against unconstitutional Stop and Frisk policies. This also proves that the law is not ok with racial profiling and that the New York Police Department needs to change their routine and procedures immediately. According to (Worrall.2019) since then New York has embarked on a Joint Remedial Process which is when the city will develop a set of reforms with input of the people most affected by the former Stop and Frisk policy. As I write the remedial process is still going on right now. That shows how many people were affected by this program and the routine. The theoretical perspective of the Stop and Frisk program is that law enforcement consider pedestrian stops as routine police work. However, it’s much more than just stopping someone on the street. 

So far it seems this policy is it’s not effective by targeting only minorities. If this policy changes the routine, I think it has the potential to be effective. According to Dunn there is no research that has proven to be effective of the New York City routine. There isn’t many guns recovered and this shows that the practice was ineffective in New York. According to Dunn.2012 while violent crimes fell twenty-nine percent in New York other cities declined way more without using stop and frisk. This program is trying to lower crime rates but there are plenty other ways to reduce crime. According to (Younger. 2015) many agencies have made the decision to employ this program to combat crime. Law enforcement want to target high crime communities where a certain crime has been more consistent. According to (Stern.2016) stop and frisk is supported by deterrence theory. This would mean that police officer would have to increase their presence in high crime neighborhoods in order for crime to decrease. If police officers get to know the community and are consistent there would be no need to pat anyone down. Doing this will let people who want to commit crimes that they shouldn’t cause authorities are watching. 

Theoretically it would stop criminals from carrying weapons and drugs out of fear Brandl, S. G. (2018). Community policing in my opinion is the way to go because you need the trust of the community, and we are all a team. If you treat everyone like criminals, then no one is going to cooperate with authority figures because they won’t trust you. One thing that worked in a positive way with Stop and Frisk is that the laws helped weapons get off the street. According to (Stern.2016) for ten years, there was about 4.4 million stop and frisk detentions that occurred in New York City. The statistics showed that 1.5% of those stops with individuals a weapon was found on that person. That means police officers removed about 66,000 items that could have been used to cause harm to people (Stern.2016) This is a great thing in my opinion as long as they are removing people who are trying to hurt people. According to (Stern.2016) there were 440,000 arrest made for individuals that had the intention of violence or theft. The police departments use stop and frisk procedures in hot spots where crime is super high. In New York City most of the high crime areas are majority full of Black and Hispanic people. There are so many issues with targeting people just because of their color and that has to change. I understand if the highest crime areas of New York are where minorities live then it’s very likely that majority of stop and frisk are going to come from a minority group. However, I think its fair to put the same amount of energy in white neighborhoods as well cause we all know they got guns too. 

Crime rates did go down about 20% due to stop and risk in cities like Newark (Younger.2015). Allowing the police, the opportunity suspicious people down prevents people from using firearms. This can also prevent illegal use of illegal substances so sometimes checking is a good thing (Wright.2014). Police officers have to be aware of possibly engaging in racial profiling. As long as rates are going down and police aren’t stopping the person just cause they’re Black or Hispanic everything should be ok. There are a lot of things that need improvement with this policy, and I think we have to address them more often. This policy can be easily abused it’s not very difficult to racially profile someone Wright.2014. Stop and Frisk policies make officers follow their feelings instead of having actual reasonable doubt and evidence. They have a mindset that this person looks like a homicidal manic so let me stop him cause he’s black. Not only is that offense but it’s just plain not fair and crazy. This is exactly why the New York City law was ruled as unconstitutional in the first place! Police were targeting Blacks and Hispanic people and the police were using their hunches instead of using evidence Brandl, S. G. (2018. This means that police don’t always almost had no evidence to have any kind of suspicion towards some people they stopped on the street. Sometimes your assumptions can be very false, and you don’t want to ruin someone else’s life because you had a thought that they might be a thief because they are Black. 

Stop and Frisk is one of those things where it’s very invasive of your privacy (Dunn.2012).. I think that people are entitled to their privacy. When a police officer detains you there is a possible risk of harm and danger that could possibly happen (Dunn.2012). For example, Eric Gardner he was detained, and his life was stolen from him for no reason besides an officer had a hunch. The fourteenth amendment offers all people equal protection. Police should not be detaining anyone unless you are harmful to yourself or others. New York City police officers would detain people just because they looked suspicious (Stern.2016). We have to do better and not just assume a person is bad just because of their looks I personally think that this policy can be effective if it is reformed and police focus on deterring people from committing crime instead of automatically assuming they are a criminal. The Stop and Frisk Program has some good qualities and some bad qualities, but I think it’s effective it’s handled correctly. The whole point of stop and frisk is to prevent crime by stopping them before they happen. I think the Stop and Frisk program doesn’t work well by itself I think it needs to be combined with deterrence theory and community policing. I believe that stop and frisk is only effective if it is placed with something else. If police departments train police to not make assumptions so fast and actually find reasonable doubt I think this will benefit the community very well. Police officers can’t control where crime starts and ends, but it’s their job to make sure that things are handled correctly, and no one gets hurt or harassed. I don’t think the stop and frisk policy should stop I think that don’t target every black or Hispanic person you walk by or encounter. 

Stop and frisk has the potential to stop crime at greater numbers, and if police officers are consistent it will also encourage actual criminals not to commit crimes at all. Police departments and agencies should really consider how the public view’s stop and frisk. Can the public trust police officers that treat them like criminals and gangbangers? If police our respectful and kind to the community members then maybe they’ll cooperate, and help you find the right people that are committing crimes in the community. You don’t want the community to have a negative view about police it will make solving crime a lot more difficult and stressful. If officers are apart of the community people will feel comfortable and safe. Police just have to use better judgement when dealing with people that might possibly just be regular people and not criminals. In conclusion crime prevention is a difficult thing to do day by day. The main goal of police officers is to keep communities safe and secure. There are many departments who misuse the stop and frisk over the years. We have to focus on crime control and on community policing to gain the trust of our communities. The people in communities have stopped trusting law enforcement because of stop and frisk. Community policing is more effecting with gaining trust and stop and frisk is great for stop crime before it happens. Police officers have a lot to think about when they make a decision on whether or not to stop someone. 

Sometimes you have to observe and wait to see if something is wrong before act on your hunch. For example, Terry v. Ohio case the police officer waited to see what was going on before he conducted the arrest. You can’t just make a decision just because of a person’s color or the way they dress in public. The police need to make a serious effort to improve their relationship with the community. Police and the community have to collaborate because the goal is to deter crime not make it worse. If police put up a neighborhood watch team that also may deter crime because the criminals know that they are being watched even if the police aren’t around. Police also have to be respectful of people and their privacy, and their rights as a human being. We have to work hard to make a change. This all starts with proper training police need to be trained on how not to be biased, and how to identify a dangerous suspect that might be involved in a crime.

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