stop and frisk essay.docx

stop and frisk essay.docx - Wilson 1 Matthew Norton...

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Wilson Matthew Norton Sociology 484 Report on X 5/16/17 1559 Racism Within NYC’s Stop-and-Frisk Policing In the early 1990s, New York City experienced a massive decrease in crime, which many individuals attribute to the NYPD’s form of social control known as stop-and-frisk policing. The stop-and-frisk initiative, enacted in 1964, operates under the fourth amendment and states that police officers can legally stop and search anyone only under suitable suspicion that the person has, is, or will commit a crime. As officers embraced this preventative theory of crime fighting, stop-and-frisks became more common and more intrusive. After analyzing the NYPD’s tactics in stop-and-frisk policing during the 1990s through 2016, patterns emerge that suggest a violation of the fourth amendment and reveal an underlying bias within the application of the policy based on race. Stop-and-frisk policing involves a level of discrimination and disparate enforcement, for people of color are far more likely to experience the presence of law enforcement in their lives. Affecting officers’ ability to police the city in a racially neutral manner, this racial bias contributes to a greater hindrance of trust between different racial/ethnic groups and the police, while creating an unsteady foundation for socioeconomic relations within the city. In order to fully grasp the implications of racial bias in stop-and-frisks, we must understand the factors that sustain such arguments of racial discrimination. As the hub of citizen complaints, many individuals argue that stop-and-frisk policing is a violation of the fourth amendment, is heavily targeted at minority communities and is rarely executed in a neutral, proportional manner. With different ethnic and racial groups feeling targeted by a force solely meant to protect them, the city’s overall quality of life and level of safety is threatened. 1
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Wilson Although stop-and-frisk policing was credited as the main cause of the crime rate decline throughout the 1990s, citizen complaints about the NYPD’s aggressive tactics shifted the public’s attitudes towards law enforcement. In 1999, four NYC Street Crime Unit (SCU) officers killed an unarmed African immigrant, Amadou Diallo, firing 41 bullets at him as he stood outside of his Bronx apartment building. This specific incident of police brutality sparked outrage throughout the city and provoked civil action outlining the presence of racial bias in the NYPD’s policing strategies. Following the shooting of Diallo, the New York State Attorney General released a statistical analysis of the SCU’s stop-and-frisks as an attempt to mitigate tensions and rebuild the community’s trust. However, the statistics only further perpetuated notions of racial bias within law enforcement and sparked large anti-police brutality platforms.
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  • Fall '12
  • EileenBauman
  • Sociology, New York City Police

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