Detroit police 'stop-and-frisk' policy - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

Detroit police 'stop-and-frisk' policy

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DETROIT (WJBK) -

The city of Detroit is seeing a new spike in violence. Manpower is down, but murders and shootings are on the rise. Now there are reports that say police are looking for a solution that is causing controversy in New York City, called 'stop-and-frisk.'

The tactic allows for more aggressive policing, permitting officers to stop and search citizens under the premise "reasonable suspicion" of criminal activity instead probable cause, according to U.S. Legal.com, Legal Information Institute and Black's Law Dictionary.   Many worry the new policy will unfairly target blacks and Hispanics.  It also raises concerns about 4th Amendment search and seizure rights and 14th amendment equal protection rights.

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that stop-and-frisk was unconstitutional in New York. In her decision this week finding that city police intentionally discriminated against blacks and Hispanics when using stop-and-frisk, she ordered major changes including a pilot program of body-worn police cameras.

Another question: Does 'Stop and Frisk' reduce crime?  Three studies of New York City's policy offer mixed results.   (READ MORE HERE)

DPD Assistant Chief, Erik Ewing released this statement:

"Based on reasonable suspicion, the Detroit Police Department is already a stop-and-frisk policing agency. Detroit's population is mostly African American, so it stands to reason that a high number of African Americans will be stopped, based on reasonable suspicion. This is not racial profiling, just officers doing good constitutional police work."

More information about Stop and Frisk

From the Legal Information Institute out of Cornell:

A brief, non-intrusive, police stop of a suspect.  The Fourth Amendment requires that the police have a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been, is being, or is about to be committed before stopping a suspect.  If the police reasonably suspect the person is armed and dangerous, they may conduct a frisk, a quick pat-down of the person's outer clothing.   See Terry v Ohio, 392 US 1, (1967). 

Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1967), was a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court which held that the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures is not violated when a police officer stops a suspect on the street and frisks him or her without probable cause to arrest, if the police officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime and has a reasonable belief that the person "may be armed and presently dangerous."

For their own protection, police may perform a quick surface search of the person's outer clothing for weapons if they have reasonable suspicion that the person stopped is armed. This reasonable suspicion must be based on "specific and articulable facts" and not merely upon an officer's hunch. This permitted police action has subsequently been referred to in short as a "stop and frisk," or simply a "Terry frisk". The Terry standard was later extended to temporary detentions of persons in vehicles, known as traffic stops; see Terry stop for a summary of subsequent jurisprudence.

The rationale behind the Supreme Court decision revolves around the understanding that, as the opinion notes, "the exclusionary rule has its limitations." The meaning of the rule is to protect persons from unreasonable searches and seizures aimed at gathering evidence, not searches and seizures for other purposes (like prevention of crime or personal protection of police officers).

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