Did you read in the paper today about New York City Police Department’s Stop and Frisk policy? Apparently, the police department there has been doing it for over 10 years–randomly stopping people on the street and frisking them. These street interrogations have become somewhat of a political football this season, as elections gear up for next year when the current mayor steps down.
Obviously, the New York Civil Liberties Union has been up in arms over the practice, claiming that of the 4 million people who have been frisked over the decade, most of them are minorities and the result has been 9 out of 10 people have proven to be innocent. It’s also an egregious affront to civil rights.
The practice has also been the subject of lawsuits and is now the lightning rod of debate among candidates vying for the mayoral spot. Several powerful unions in the city have come out against the controversial policy. But the NYPD and Mayor Bloomberg claim its effects, while not seen by the average person, have been far-reaching and have kept guns and potential criminals off the streets, thus reducing the crime rate.
Detractors say it reduces the city to a police state and has left a lasting impression of fear of police among citizens. They also claim that it has become a performance measure for police officers, which they believe is unfair.
If it could happen there, it could happen anywhere in this country. What do you think?