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Stop and Frisk
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Every American receives protection from the United States Constitution's Fourteenth
Amendment against unlawful searches and seizures by law enforcement personnel. This means
that without probable cause, including a racial profile, police officers have unlimited power to
search and seize any person they suspect to be on the wrong. Therefore, a police officer will not
require a warrant to search an individual or his or her belongings. The police officer needs only
to be suspicious, stop a person and frisk for anything illegal. In most instances, they search for
illegal drugs, and fire arms. Based on the argument by Shira Scheindlin, a U.S. District Court
judge for the Southern District of New York, stop and frisking is a policy that violates the
Fourteenth Amendment's promise and should be stopped (Matthews, 2013). Stop and frisk
practices a policy that violates the Fourteenth Amendment that promises equal protection to all
Americans. Reason being, most African Americans and Hispanic citizens are target subjects to
stops and searches. Their population is relatively higher than whites.
Stop and frisk policies, according to James, have a negative impact on specific ethnic
groups and increase racial bias. She claims that quotas imposed by the agency have increased the
number of stops and their mistreatment (James, 2015). Every U.S. citizen has the right to stroll
down the street. No one should fear being stopped by the police due to his or her race or
ethnicity. According to the 2012 data, 532,911 people the police stopped. Most of the individuals
were blacks or Hispanics. The blacks comprised 53%, Hispanic 31%, while the whites took up
10% (Matthews, 2013). This data shows that stopping and frisking practices mostly target
minorities as they are culprits of wrongdoing, drug trafficking, and other offenses compared to
their white counterparts.
Moreover, I feel that the stop and frisk practice is super-biased on sections of the NYPD
as, according to "The Washington Post," the police stop vs. seizure of illicit goods between 2004
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and 2012, there was a less number of white stops (Matthews, 2013). However, the number of
whites who underwent seizures and had drugs and weapons was high compared with blacks and
Hispanic. This means that, despite the whites being favored, a large population is in illegal and
criminal activities, unlike the minority groups. The nonwhites remain suspects, when it comes to
police officers who harass and mistreat them in different ways. It becomes a form of bias and
prejudice towards these groups, thus violating their rights. There is a need to maintain equality
since we are all American citizens who deserve equal treatment. For that reason, as much as stop
and frisk practice has positive impacts, it should stop to promote equality.
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References
James, B. (2015). Stop and frisk in 4 cities: The importance of open police data. Retrieved from
https://sunlightfoundation.com/2015/03/02/stop-and-frisk-in-4-cities-the-importance-of-
open-police-data-2/
Matthews, D. (2013). Here’s what you need to know about stop and frisk — and why the courts
shut it down. Retrieved from
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/08/13/heres-what-you-need-to-
know-about-stop-and-frisk-and-why-the-courts-shut-it-down/

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