Donald Trump has called for police to return to the controversial ‘Stop and Frisk’ tactic that a federal court forced the NYPD to curtail in 2013. The tactic allowed police to stop anyone they suspected had committed a crime or was about to — especially on a suspicion of weapons possession. When it was in full force in NYC, the cops made hundreds of thousands of stops — nearly 90% of them minorities — with dismal results. (The percentage of those stopped who were subsequently retained was in the low single digits.)
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio recently cautioned against Trump’s recommendation, telling CNN that reinstituting the tactic would create a “lot more tension between police and communities.” But Dems may want to change their minds. When stop-and-frisk was in place in New York, people stopped under suspicion of carrying a weapon were sometimes found to have contraband — illegal drugs — instead. Police could then proceed to prosecute individuals on that charge, a clear violation of privacy in the eyes of most legal scholars. Were the tactic back in place, the NYPD could catch Donald Trump on his way to a Fifth Avenue mailbox, stop him thinking he might be concealing a gun in his hair, and confiscate his tax returns. That would be a violation of Trump’s rights, but that’s how it might work if ‘Stop and Frisk’ targeted race and class equally.