COMMENTARY | On Monday, a federal judge ruled that the controversial NYPD practice known as stop and frisk is an unconstitutional form of racial profiling. Bravo.
Stop and frisk is a civil rights disaster. City officials claim the controversial practice is meant to keep guns off New York City streets. But in 2011, only 1 out of every 650 such stops resulted in a firearms arrest. In fact, of the 532,911 stops made in 2012, 89 percent of the suspects were totally innocent of any wrongdoing. Furthermore, stop and frisk smacks of racial profiling– according to ACLU statistics, 87 percent of those stopped under the program were black or Hispanic.
Sadly, it’s not just New York that’s embraced stop and frisk. The practice was adopted in Los Angeles after former New York Police Commissioner William Bratton, the stop and frisk architect, was hired as police chief. Crime dropped, but civil rights suffered. Countless other cities followed suit, with varying results.
Here in San Francisco, the powers that be briefly flirted with the idea of implementing stop and frisk in the nation’s most progressive first-tier city. Thankfully, public outcry led to the plan’s rejection. But across the Bay Bridge in Oakland, Bratton is peddling his “supercop” pedigree and his discriminatory policing tactics.
Constitutional or not, those who would rob us of a lot of liberty for a little security are far from finished.