Tags: Donald Trump | Latin America | Law Enforcement | ray kelly | new york city

Trump Is Wrong on 'Stop and Frisk'

Trump Is Wrong on 'Stop and Frisk'

(Seth Wenig/AP)

Monday, 26 September 2016 01:28 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Donald Trump has advocated the use of “stop and frisk” as a way to combat crime in our cities. To his credit, Trump is talking about doing something differently, because clearly, what we’re doing now isn’t working.

He just happens to be wrong.

In 2013, a federal judge ruled that New York City's "stop and frisk" was unconstitutional and discriminatory, as a majority of those detained, questioned and frisked by police were blacks and Latinos who, for the most part, weren't doing anything illegal.

Supporters cheered that the ruling was a victory for minorities, while critics guaranteed a spike in illegal activity.

Both sides were off-target.

The ruling was a victory for everyone.

Our laws should be color-blind. That impartiality helps mitigate the resentment felt by those singled out because of color, victimized by the perception that the police, and the law, have a double standard.

And for whites who disagree, be careful what you wish for, since demographic changes could see them on the "minority" side in the near future. What goes around comes around, so when whites start getting stopped and frisked in the predominantly Hispanic southwest, will they still feel the same way?

When a policy violates civil rights, no matter how well-intentioned, it should be replaced with one more appropriate for a country that guarantees freedom to all, not just some.

Stopping someone because of skin color or appearance doesn't cut it. It was wrong prior to the civil rights movement, and it's wrong now.

Trump’s basis for stop and frisk is rooted in how “successful” he thinks it was in New York. So it’s worth looking back to the justification of the policy in the first place.

Former New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly explained: " . . . (Stop and frisk) is a police officer's ability to stop someone in a public place who they have reasonable suspicion . . . may be committing a crime, is about to commit a crime, or has committed a crime."

Didn't that used to be called something else? Namely, regular police work?

If someone is committing a crime, or in situations where there is reasonable suspicion that a crime is about to be committed, no problem. The job of an officer is to apprehend or investigate that suspect. Stop and frisk doesn't enter into that equation.

Here's the reality. New York's crime rate didn't drop over the last decade and a half because of stop and frisk. Instead, it was the result of the vision set forth by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani, who inherited a city in economic turmoil and awash in crime, both petty and serious, had a simple directive to the police: we won't look the other way on the little things anymore, and will pursue petty crime as thoroughly as violent assault.
The message was clear. Violate our laws, and we're coming after you — and we're bringing hell with us.  

Criminals got wise quickly, realizing that it wasn't worth the price to mug someone if the whole precinct would be coming down on them.

At the same time, Rudy set out to revive New York's once-vibrant economy by improving education, cleaning up blight, and making it more business and tourist friendly.

And a funny thing happened: crime went down. Why?

Because when hundreds of people shop, dine and walk on well-lit streets, even at midnight, it's a lot tougher to mug someone with impunity. Dark, boarded-up stores and apartments are a breeding ground for crime, while thriving streets are anathema to criminals.

Stop and frisk is a tactic, not a strategy, and doesn't solve the problems our cities face. The recipe for success — while not violating civil rights — is simple. First, break the logjam that is our wholly ineffective public education system by injecting competition and school choice.

With no education, there is no hope. And when there's no hope, people resort to violence, drugs and crime, because they have nothing to lose. An educated society is a safe society.

Second, attract businesses by slashing regulations, eliminating corruption, and cutting taxes. With companies come stable jobs, rising incomes, well-kept neighborhoods, and a growing tax base.

Thriving cities don't tolerate crime because it's the death knell of their existence; compare that to the burned-out shells in Detroit where crime is rampant and hope doesn't exist.

Lastly, ensure the police serve all the people equally and without prejudice.

In doing so, resentment and the "us against them" mentality give way to effective civilian-law enforcement cooperation, where crime is rooted out the right way.

Is stop and frisk profiling? Unquestionably, yes.

Yet it's not without irony that the very city most devastated by the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks makes little effort to give profiling its proper home — our airports.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.

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1Like our page
Stop and frisk is a tactic, not a strategy, and doesn't solve the problems our cities face.
ray kelly, new york city
Monday, 26 September 2016 01:28 PM
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