An analysis of the Philadelphia Police Department’s use of stop-and-frisk uncovered racial bias and ineffectiveness, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Lance Hannon, a Villanova University professor of sociology and criminology, conducted the research based on police data from 2014 to 2015. One of the key finds is that police officers disproportionately detained and searched people in Black neighborhoods compared to non-Black communities. However, their strategy of targeting Blacks yielded less contraband.
Perhaps one of the reasons for stop-and-frisk’s ineffectiveness in Philladelphia is that the police targeted Black communities without regard for crime levels. In other words, they searched people in low-crime Black neighborhoods.
In 2013, a federal judge ruled that the New York City Police Department’s use of stop-and-frisk violated the constitutional rights of minorities, who were disproportionately targeted by the police. Many critics also said the tactic was tantamount to racial profiling and created distrust toward law enforcement.
All of that said, the U.S. Department of Justice will likely ignore this new study and promote stop-and-frisk. Here are three reasons:
President Donald Trump is a big supporter of stop-and-frisk
Donald Trump, as a presidential candidate, called for law enforcement agencies nationwide to utilize stop-and-frisk, Politico reported. He said it should be used especially in high-crime urban communities, like Chicago. According to the New York Times, Trump has been a longtime stop-and-frisk supporter, pointing to the policing tool as a primary reason for New York’s decreased crime rate.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is relaunching the war on drugs
Stop-and-frisk will likely become a main weapon in Attorney General Jeff Session’s reinstitution of the war on drugs, which destroyed scores of Black families through racially biased law enforcement practices that led to mass incarceration.
The attorney general has already thought about how to bypass constitutional concerns
Sessions, who has a history of racial bias as an Alabama attorney general and U.S. attorney, defended the use of stop-and-frisk in an interview with Bustle: “Look, it’s all about how that is done, in my opinion. You’ve gotta be careful to what you do to a citizen on the street. I was a prosecutor, U.S. attorney, for 12 years, so I know the delicateness of it. You have to be careful.”