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Stop and Frisk: Racial Profiling

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On september 11,2001, four planes were hijacked. Two planes crashed into the twin towers of the world trade center, killing 2,753 people. The third plane crashed into the Pentagon, killing 125 people. This event created sadness and hatred in people’s lives. As a result of these attacks, racial profiling became a bigger issue in america. On august 12, 2013, in the case of Floyd v. The city of New York, the court ruled on a plan called stop and frisk. Stop and frisk should not be used because, it gives Police officers another way to racially profile people of color, It limits the miranda rights, its against the U.S constitution, and it can also be used as sexaul harrassment.

According to Cornell Law Institute “stop-and-frisk refers to a brief non-intrusive police stop of a suspect”. This tactic is also known as Terry Stop which was put into effect in 1968, but does this issue run longer than Terry v. Ohio 1968? In an article written by Gloria J. Browne- Marshall, She compares this Police tactic as Slave catching. She says “Colonial laws were drafted specifically to control Africans, enslaved and free. Slave catchers culled the woods in search of those Africans who dared escape”. She goes on to mention laws placed on africans such as the “Black Codes” which were used by southern states in 1865-1877 which limited and regulated what slaves could and couldn’t do, to ensure that labor forces would remain cheap after the abolishment of slavery in 1865. Many states required the freed African Slaves to sign a yearly labor contract, and if they so refused to sign the contract, they would be arrested, fined, and forced back into slavery or “unpaid labor”. She also mentions the Jim Crow laws which were established at the end of reconstruction in 1877 and lasted for 100 years. These laws segregated white and black people with the phrase “separate but equal”, which created an inferior society. Classroom materials were distributed unequally and African American schools were given the “hand me downs” from white schools. This society also created low income families with higher crime rates by the 70s due to drugs.

In 1966, Ernesto Miranda was accused of kidnapping, Robbery, and the rape of an 18 year old woman. He confessed under police interrogation without legal representation, This was an outrage and he was retried for this crime and was convicted and sentenced to 20 to 30 years in prison. It was decided during this case that officers must read your rights to you during an arrest. In today’s society stop and frisk limits and defies the miranda rights act due to not offering legal representation and “physically interrogating” a person based on their looks of suspicion.

December 15,1791 the fourth amendment was ratified into the United States Constitution. This states “ [t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”. Stop and frisk violates the fourth amendment due to the unreasonable search or “ suspicion” of a person’s security. A reasonable cause of a Search and Seized also known as Probable cause can be the sight or smell of contraband. The contraband, however; must be in plain sight or can be smelled on the person or items of a person. Since Stop and Frisk is based on a suspicion, Officers are violating the fourth amendment. Do to the ruling of the Terry v. Ohio case, Police have the right to detain a person based on a reasonable suspicion, But is that considered Racial Profiling?

Racial Profiling is defined as “the use of race or ethnicity as grounds for suspecting someone of having committed an offense”. Everyday people of color are being targeted on the color of their skin and even the clothes that the wear. They are perceived as thugs,thieves,and murderers. Most police officers are stationed in low income communities that are filled with the minority of the united states. In cases like Trayvon Martin even though George Zimmerman was not a police officer, he did indeed have the right to call the local authorities. He racial profiled Trayvon and shot and killed him, because he thought he was the neighborhood robber.

Stop and Frisk not only is racial profiling but it’s also sexual harassment in today’s society. Sexual Harassment is defined as “harassment (typically of a woman) in a workplace, or other professional or social situation, involving the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks”. Officers like Daniel Holtzclaw who was accused on 13 accounts of sexual attacks while on duty can use the Terry v. Ohio case to justify frisking a woman for probable cause. Holtzclaw was sentenced to 263 years in prison and found guilty of 18 out of 36 of his felony charges. Police Officers also use a tactic called “ credit carding” which when officers swipe their hand which is usually ungloved between the buttocks. This is public humiliation and is also degrading for the man or woman that is being frisked.

In New York City, crime rates are seeing a huge decline. Dennis C. Smith a professor of Public Policy at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, says Stop and questioning presents itself as an “effective crime deterrent. New York has seen a 42% drop in crime rates and inmates in prisons since 2000. Will this trend continue to make a huge difference in New York? Some people like a writer who wrote an article for the Huffington post say that once police officers end there widespread stop and frisk tactics, crime rates will increase because fear has left. “ there were a total of 290 killings across New York in 2017” says Nick Wing of the Huffington Post.

Although crime rates are reducing, Stop and frisk brings about terror to the people of color, cases of sexual harassment, And goes against what are founding father fought to create. We as a society can find better ways to reduce crime rates other than stop and frisk. One tactic that looks promising is called Focused Deterrence. This practice also known as Pulling Levers policing, is a tactic that is part of the core values of the deterrence theory. The Deterrence theory says “people don’t commit crimes because they are afraid of getting caught – instead of being motivated by some deep moral sense” according to Natalie boyd who will soon have a PhD in psychology. She says that often times when the punishment is severe, the person who is about to commit a crime will divert from the crime. People shouldn’t have to live in fear based o the color of their skin or their sexual identity. This is the reason why Stop and Frisk should be abolished and replaced.

Works Cited

  1. Birzer, Michael L. Racial Profiling: They Stopped Me Because I’m–. CRC Press, 2013. Questia School, www.questiaschool.com/read/125956996/racial-profiling-they-stopped-me-because-i-m. Accessed Apr. 2018.
  2. Grogan, Paul S., and Tony Proscio. Comeback Cities: A Blueprint for Urban Neighborhood Revival. Westview Press, 2000. Questia School, www.questiaschool.com/read/27180073/comeback-cities-a-blueprint-for-urban-neighborhood. Accessed Apr. 2018.
  3. Harcourt, Bernard E. Against Prediction: Profiling, Policing, and Punishing in an Actuarial Age. University of Chicago Press, 2007. Questia School, www.questiaschool.com/read/117783963/against-prediction-profiling-policing-and-punishing. Accessed Apr. 2018.
  4. Kops, Deborah. Racial Profiling. Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2007. Questia School, www.questiaschool.com/read/117858846/racial-profiling. Accessed Apr. 2018.
  5. Rice, Stephen K., and Michael D. White Roberts, editors. Race, Ethnicity, and Policing: New and Essential Readings. New York University Press, 2010. Questia School, www.questiaschool.com/read/117664593/race-ethnicity-and-policing-new-and-essential. Accessed Apr. 2018.
  6. Browne-Marshall, Gloria J. (2013) ‘Stop and Frisk: From Slave-Catchers to NYPD, A Legal Commentary,’ Trotter Review: Vol. 21: Iss.1, Article 9.
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