The Stop and Frisk Debate

By Khemilla Kedarnath

In New York, the stop and frisk law causes much controversy. While some people are in favor of the laws’ effectiveness, others reprimand that it is unfairly used with stereotypes. According to the New York Civil Liberties Union, of the 532,911 times that New Yorkers have been stopped by the police, eighty-nine percent were innocent, eighty-seven percent were colored, and only ten percent were white. There have been many varying reactions towards this law amongst the students, and teachers on the Lehman College Campus.

One of Lehman’s College Now students, Azeezat Siyanbola, shares her opinions as she finishes her lunch. The sixteen year-old told, “It depends on the situation”. She agrees that the police can be racist at times, because according to her, they constantly use stereotypes to attract a probable cause for stopping and frisking a person. As she hurries to class, she states, “The police need to be more conscious about whom they approach and how they approach them.”

As she finishes up her statement with her fellow teachers, while they sit together at a table on Lehman’s campus, Christy Kingham states she is “against the way it has manifested itself”. Kingham lives in Time Square, Manhattan. She explains that most of her family lives there too. “They haven’t been stopped and frisked, and they aren’t concerned about it either, whereas, someone of color usually is,” she mentioned. She believes that this policy has “segregated” who police look for, and believes that things need to change because it is “definitely unfair,” she said

Sixteen year old, Marie Morel, another one of Lehman’s College Now student, also shares her judgments about the stop and frisk policy. According to her, this law “constantly violates the rights of colored people and it is wrong”. As she walks with her friend, she states, “ They (the police) shouldn’t stop people based on their race. It (the stop & frisk law) is ineffective, and they should find other ways to stop crime.”

As she waits in one of the buildings at Lehman College, Kary Jimenez also shares her perspective on this law. She agrees, “it violates the rights of people”, she continues, “it should only be allowed at public sites, like the MTA, or library.” She also believes that there should be a “legit reason” for the police to target people. She explains that if there were an event that took place that sparked mass suspicion, such as the 9/11 tragedies, there should be police who are permitted to stop and frisk people in that specific area, for their own safety and security.

Another College Now student at Lehman College, Ayaris Perez, gives her insight about this policy. Like Kary, Ayaris explains that, “ There should be suspicious activity that drives an officer to stop and frisk that person, not their race or ethnicity.” She agrees that this policy should only be valid in public facilities.

As reported, Mayor Bloomberg stated, “The numbers don’t lie, we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little.” While Mayor Bloomberg expresses different feelings in a radio broadcast, many people on the Lehman College Campus have opposing views on New Yorks stop and frisk law. They agree that it is unfair, and there is a great need to change the way it is being utilized. “It’s completely unfair,” Ayaris finishes.

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