Monday evening during the presidential debates, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump doubled down on his plan to reinstate “stop-and-frisk,” using New York City as an example of how effective it was in in eradicating crime.
Responding to Lester Holt assertion that “stop and frisk” was ruled unconstitutional, Donald Trump said, “No, you’re wrong. It went before a judge who was a very against police judge. It was taken away from her and our mayor, our new mayor, refused to go forward with the case. They would have won an appeal.”
Fact Check: Stop and Frisk is unconstitutional and was neither lawful nor effective.
The program, in which police officers arbitrarily decide when to stop and question a pedestrian, then frisk them for weapons and other contraband, was found to be unlawful after evidence provided proved the NYPD engaged in patterns of unconstitutional stops that were more likely to affect African-American and Latino citizens.
The program’s defenders claimed high crime rates were the reason behind the disproportionate targeting of minorities, but Jeffrey Fagan at Columbia Law School found after an investigation into the program, that “even if you control for the crime rate, the racial makeup of a precinct is a good predictor of the number of stops” police do in a particular area.
“Anyone who says we know this is bringing the crime rate down is really making it up,” Fagan says. Others wouldn’t put it that harshly, but the evidence does seem to suggest that stop and frisk is, at best, ineffective, and, at worst, purposefully targets communities illegally.
Examining the number of police stops per seizures of illicit goods mapped out by race, it becomes blatantly obvious that not only are African-Americans stopped over 5x more than whites, the disproportionate targeting is ineffective in reducing crime further because it ignores that the numbers suggest there would be more illicit good seizures if police attention was concentrated more appropriately in groups with a lower stop-per-seizure.
Moreover, as foreign correspondent for NBC News Katy Tur live-tweeted during the debate, the murder rate in New York City did not drop until after stop-and-frisk was declared unconstitutional and stopped, it also has not risen beyond a level of concern.