End Racial profiling: END STOP AND FRISK

Last Updated: 04 Aug 2020
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Racial profiling is a daily reality with often deadly consequences for communities of the color, young, LGBT community, and other minority groups in the US and even with the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law. With so many police killings of unarmed minorities in recent years, this country lacks policy banning racial profiling. Stop and frisk is discriminatory. Black and Latino's communities continue to be the overwhelming targets for stop and frisk and It is illegal for officers to racially profile someone.

‘Stop-and-Frisk’ Is the New Racial Profiling. If true crime prevention were the goal, then perhaps the police would work with community organizers and leaders who strive daily to better their neighborhoods. Perhaps officers would live in the areas that they patrol. And perhaps community policing would be allowed in black and brown communities.

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Our criminal justice system is a system that is designed to protect the rights of citizens and provide order and control to our society. Over the years, the people who are apart of our legal system have been effective in carrying out these duties. However, we have always had a with stop and frisk and the extent to which this process can be carried out. These issues began with the Terry v. Ohio case of 1968 and it is still occurring to this day in cases such as Floyd v. The city of New York in 2013. Stop and frisk is an issue because it violates citizens' rights, racial profiling and not accepting the limits of this.

The rights of our citizens against violation during stop and frisk is protected by the fourth and fourteenth amendment. However, in our society today we don't know what our rights are and we don't know the limits to enduring a stop and frisk incident. In many states, there is a law allowing an officer to conduct a stop and frisk based on just reasonable suspicion and not probable cause. Lots of people are unaware of this rule and as a result, think they cannot be stopped because they are walking down the street. However, they can be stopped because the main purpose of a stop and frisk is to ensure the safety of the police. Therefore if the police have a reason to suspect that you may have something illegal or you are capable of harming him in any way, he can stop and frisk you.

A perfect example of this is the Terry v. Ohio case. In this case, the defendant and his companion were on a street in downtown Cleveland and the detective thought they were "casing" a store. They walked up and down peering into the store window and then returning to the corner to consult with each other and a third individual. The detective approached them, went over the proper procedure and then he frisked the suspects. Terry and one of his companions were both in possession of a handgun and were tried and convicted of carrying a concealed weapon. Terry found this outrageous so he appealed his case but the Supreme Court denied this claiming that the police officer didn't need probable cause to detain Terry he only needs reasonable suspicion, so he didn't violate any of Terry's constitutional rights.

Reasonable suspicion is defined as a less demanding standard than probable cause not only in the sense that reasonable suspicion can be established with information that is different in quantity or content from that which requires probable cause but also in the sense that reasonable suspicion can arise from information that is less reliable than that required to show probable cause. Many citizens have complained that officers often have no reason to stop them but they do it anyways and the procedure that is carried out during these stops is not what is established by the law. In many instances where people are stopped and frisked their rights are being violated but how they interact with the police makes it okay for the police to treat them in that manner. I say this because they often behave vulgar and hostile towards a police officer. When dealing with situations like these the main thing to remember is to keep calm and assess the situation, the minute you start to get hostile a police officer can say that he felt that he was in danger and that is exactly what he wants.

Stop and frisk not only violates citizens' rights it is also used in racial profiling. In today's society, police officers tend to target the minority population mainly African Americans and Hipics for stop and frisks. It is said that these two populations have committed the most crimes so they are allowed to zero in on those groups whether or not they are guilty. As a member, if these two minority groups it doesn't take a lot to get frisked. In many cases, young black male's rights were violated because they were black and they were sitting on the corner of their neighborhood. In other instances, they were frisked for walking down the street, what is so suspicious about a black male walking down the street? A lot of the police officers think so, therefore these men are being stopped, frisked and arrested for "driving while black".

A report by a state attorney general in New York shows that blacks and Hipics are more likely to be stopped and frisked by New York City police officer for no legal reasons rather than whites. Blacks are stopped 6 times as much as whites and Hipics are 4 times as much. These statistics show that as much as we hate to acknowledge and accept it, racism still exists. The liberty that blacks fought for has been given to us but only on conditions, we are never really equal are free from racism because we are always targeted and apprehended just for our race and our ethnicity. Is it fair? No, are blacks and Hipics trying hard to put a stop to this? No. The reason behind this is we don't know our rights, we are protected from this under the equal protection clause. Though a person can be convicted of committing a crime based on race in regards to the "totality of circumstances" meaning if the officer is looking for someone based on a description, a regular stop and frisk incident because of race is unconstitutional.

We as people and citizens of this country must understand that stop and frisks will occur the key to enduring a stop and frisk is knowing the limits of it. The Minnesota v. Dickerson case of 1993. In this case, the defendant Dickerson was seen leaving a building that was known for the distribution of cocaine. Upon leaving an officer approached Dickerson and frisked him, he found a small bag of cocaine in his jacket pocket and Dickerson was convicted of possession of a controlled substance. When he appealed the case the court sided with Dickerson saying that the item seized didn't appeal to his sense of touch (plain touch) and made it immediately apparent so the evidence was suppressed.

A stop and frisk should not be more than a mere pat down to see if there is anything in your possession that may harm a police officer or others. A frisk should take place after a stop only if it is justified by concerns of safety for the officer and others. A frisk is not an automatic consequence of a valid stop. The controversy over the extent of a frisk has been one of many years but a frisk extends only to a mere pat-down of the outer clothing and only an object that feels like a weapon can be seized. A frisk isn't intent on violating your rights the extent to which this goes is where the violation takes place.

As stated above, stop and frisk is discriminatory. Black and Latino's communities continue to be the overwhelming targets for stop and frisk and It is illegal for officers to racially profile someone.


Stop and frisk isn't a bad process because it protects the lives of officers and other citizens. However, when racial profiling occurs and the limits to this are crossed, we have citizens’ rights being violated and that is not acceptable. As Bloomberg said, "stop and frisks reduce crime in our neighborhoods". This is true but only proper stop and frisks do that, those which go along with the proper protocol. Also, according to an analysis by the NYCLU, No research has ever proven the effectiveness of New York City’s stop-and-frisk regime, and the small number of arrests, summonses, and guns recovered demonstrates that the practice is ineffective. Crime data also do not support the claim that New York City is safer because of the practice. While violent crimes fell 29 percent in New York City from 2001 to 2010, other large cities experienced larger violent crime declines without relying on stop and frisk abuses: 59 percent in Los Angeles, 56 percent in New Orleans, 49 percent in Dallas, and 37 percent in Baltimore. And Nearly nine out of 10 stopped-and-frisked New Yorkers have been completely innocent, according to the NYPD’s reports:
In 2005, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 398,191 times.

  • 352,348 were innocent (89 percent).
  • 196,570 were black (54 percent).
  • 115,088 were Latino (32 percent).
  • 40,713 were white (11 percent).
  • 189,854 were aged 14-24 (51 percent).

In 2010, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 601,285 times.

  • 518,849 were innocent (86 percent).
  • 315,083 were black (54 percent).
  • 189,326 were Latino (33 percent).
  • 54,810 were white (9 percent).
  • 295,902 were aged 14-24 (49 percent).


The evidence that backs up this racial profiling claim is static from the national urban league. “From 2002 to 2011, black and Latino residents made up close to 90 percent of people stopped, and about 88 percent of stops more than 3.8 million were innocent New Yorkers.” The bias of the author is against stop and frisk. This will affect the perspective of the article because it will show all the flaws in the NYPD. This article showed me that when you have people who care you could make a change in the world. The mayor had stop and frisk in New York and he had only been In office for a few months. The statics in this article shocked me because why are so many young adults of color are being stopped just because they are walking down the street. We should be able to feel safe and protected not harassed and be judged by the color of their skin. NAACP’s groundbreaking report, Born Suspect, opens a renewed dialogue about racial profiling by law enforcement in America. This conversation includes a call to action for NAACP members to work toward ending this ineffective policing practice across the country.


During my research, I learned that stop and frisk is a current event in New York and the Mayor is trying to fix things. The article I read had a lot of information that stood out to me and I thought was very interesting. This article is about “The move by the Law Department, which will officially be taken in legal papers expected to be filed, fulfills a campaign promise by Mr. de Blasio and represents the latest step by his administration to shake off its predecessor’s legacy of aggressively defending the stop-and-frisk practices of the Police Department.” (Goodman 2014) This article is about the end of stop and frisk, as we know it. Mayor de Blasio's goal when he came into office was to stop the racial profiling that has been overused to the young adults in our neighborhoods. The underlying message of the article is “ paying the way to a reduction in racial profiling, a greater guarantee of equal treatment under the law, and better relations between police and the community, this move offers a guide to other cities across the nation committed to ensuring safety, justice, and fairness for all cities.” (Goodman 2014)


  • Alphabetized order:
  • Jost, Kenneth. "Racial Profiling." CQ Researcher by CQ Press. CQ Researcher, 22 Nov. 2013. Web. 08 Dec. 2014. .
  • DeFilippis, Evan. "Skin Color Is Not a Crime: Why Stop and Frisk Doesn't Work." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 14 Apr. 2014. Web. 08 Dec. 2014. .

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End Racial profiling: END STOP AND FRISK. (2020, Aug 04). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/end-racial-profiling-end-stop-and-frisk/

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