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As you learned in this week’s readings, many constitutional scholars consider the prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures as one of the most basic freedoms that the Bill of Rights clearly protects. This central freedom supports and protects other essential freedoms, like free speech, press, assembly, and religion. Recently, this core freedom has become a very controversial debate topic as large American cities, like New York City, have instituted police procedures described as “stop and frisk.” In these cities, when a police officer has reason to believe that a person is armed there is a set protocol for officers. Officers can make stops based on suspicious activities and frisk individuals for weapons. Courts have found this to be within the boundaries of the Fourth Amendment until just recently. At what point does a reasonable search become unreasonable? What is the role of probable cause in these efforts to provide safety to our citizens? When, during this process, could the police officer infringe on individual rights? Discuss why you support or do not support stop and frisk efforts by the police.
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