STOP the Frisk

Stop_and_Frisk_ACLU_report_cover_graphicNot only do I believe the Stop and Frisk law in New York City is a violation of the Fourth Amendment, but it raises many issues concerning racial discrimination and may fray the trust between police officers and civilians.  When I am walking around town I feel safe.  I feel safe because I trust people and because I know I will not at any point be stopped and searched by a random police officer.  This has nothing to do with the fact that I am an 18 year old, white female, who is probably hanging out with friends or family.  It is because I know my city obeys the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution and continues to respect my personal space.

Stop and Frisk laws in New York City give officers permission to stop and search any persons who they believe to be suspicious at any time.  I understand this law was set up having the safety of the people of New York in mind, but I believe this law is simply an invasion of privacy.  If police officers are allowed to conduct a full body search at random on the side of the road, what’s next?

The Fourth Amendment of the constitution of the United States prohibits any unreasonable searches and seizures and sets out requirements for search warrants based on a probable cause.  I do not believe that a questionable suspicious person is a reasonable reason to conduct a search.  If governments are now allowing people to be randomly searched on the side of the road, this could lead to further laws that violate the rights of our amendments.  Once government begins to alter some of our rights, what is stopping them from violating other amendments we have as US citizens?

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Along with the argument of whether or not the “Stop and Frisk” laws go against our rights as Unites States citizens, there have been many questions raised about racial discrimination during the Stop and Frisk process.  Many argue that police have been discriminating against minorities and incorrectly accusing them of being suspicious. While I understand how this may be a concern and issue for many, I also believe that it is equally unfair to accuse a police officer of being racist if they are only trying to do their job.  Upset, many blacks and Latinos began to protest in New York City demanding not to be considered a threat solely based on the color of their skin or ethnicity.  Whether someone is being frisked based on the color of their skin, or based on the fact that they look suspicious is a hard call to make because there is no actual hard evidence on either side of the spectrum.  In this photo, we see both a black and a white man being frisked on the side of the street.  In my opinion, it would be just as unfair to be accuse police officers of racial discrimination as it would be for the police officers to actually be discriminating against the a man or woman of color.

My final issue with the Stop and Frisk law is the embarrassment and level of discomfort it may bring, along with the broken trust between civilians and police officers.  As an eighteen-year-old girl, I would feel extremely violated if I was to be stopped on the side of the road and given a full body searched based on the fact that I looked “suspicious.”  This level of discomfort could lead to distrust with officers.  With the Stop and Frisk laws, I believe police officers will become a threat rather then someone who is there to help in times of danger.

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While I do believe the Stop and Frisk laws in New York were created to protect the people of the city, I think it is causing more problems than it is helping.  Not only does this law violate our rights and is an invasion of privacy, but it also causes many problems with racial discrimination and issues concerning discomfort and trust.

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