Stop and Think about “Stop and Frisk”

 By Tandy James

In recent years there has been a heated debate about the practice of Stop and Frisk. Many do not agree with this policy because it stands on the lines between justice and privacy. Most New Yorkers sing the same song when it come to this controversial topic. According to  http://www.nyclu.org, in 2012 New Yorkers were stopped by the police 532,911 times. 89% were African-American and 55% were Latino. Nearly nine out of the ten individuals searched were innocent. The numbers have remained a similarity throughout previous years. It causes unease and anger in most minority neighborhoods.

This theme is the same for some on the Lehman College campus. Marliana Ramos, a College Now student does not agree with the Stop and Frisk practice. She lives in a minority-dominated neighborhood which she says is influential upon her thoughts. She mentions “It is wrong because there is no evidence.”

When asked to elaborate on what would justify the act she says, “Now if they see, legit see or hear that there is illegal behavior then there could be a stop and frisk.”

Ms. Ramos believes that Stop and Frisk is a violation to New Yorkers. She adds that it is invading someone’s personal space. “It’s embarrassing,” states Ms. Ramos, also adding,

“My two friends got stopped and frisked because they were suspected to have weed on them. Believe me, they’re the last two people to do anything like that.”

According to the  NYPD’s own data records, most of the individual’s stopped and frisked are of a minority background. Saleem Bell, a Lehman College student, was asked about this and he does not agree with the practice either. Bell explains that he knows that it is to try to stop the crime rate but, it is still no excuse for an officer to racially profile people. Bell has been stopped and frisked “Two times” and he says,

”I didn’t appreciate it, I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Bell adds that he has been racially profiled before, however not in one of the instances where he was being stopped and frisked. He believes that police officers have enough information on where the crimes are high so they should search there. “Maybe they should do it to them, the ones hangin’ outside” Bell says.

The disagreement is widespread throughout the Lehman College campus. Sarah Ogunji, a College Now student sees the practice as a violation of privacy.

“It shows racial discrimination ‘cause the majority of the time they do it it’s on a person of minority background,” said Ms. Ogunji

She also feels that the whole thing is out of her control “What can I do?” she adds;  Ms. Ogunji believes they should find another method to getting it done “One that’s much less controversial than this one I hope.”

High School student Lewis Garcia just had a few words to say about Stop and Frisk. He states, ”Now I know to have I.D.”

New Yorkers have not been quiet about the problem either. Many activist groups have been fighting for justice as a result of the increased number of Stop and Frisk, such as LatinoJustice PRLDEF, The Bronx Defenders, and New York Civil Liberties Union. These are some of the few groups who continue to fight for social and racial justice. From the communities opinion many do not see this problem going away.

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