I have an assignment with my criminal procedure class this week, discuss whether or not profiling along with stop and frisk is acceptable according to heritage. The exact question is as follows, “Is it lawful to profile someone, stop and frisk them and perform more invasive actions based on the individual’s heritage?” I feel very strongly about this topic and wanted to publish my response to more than just my classmates.
Stop and frisk is a legal action any officer has the authority to do and in places like New York City is it actually encouraged by officers to engage in this action towards people of color. A series of papers and research was done on the topic of stop and frisk by a table of research professionals around this concept. The results were as follows, stop and frisk polarizes much more towards minority groups than majority groups and people of color have higher negative thoughts towards police than white men and women. Since cooperation with the police is based off a sense of trust and many cities having higher populations of people of color a new program started to minimize stop and frisk and try to maximize trust in police. (Vigne,2014)
Yes, it is lawful to profile someone based off their heritage, this type of profiling is called racial profiling and as much as it is legal it is harmful. This country runs on the principle of innocent until proven guilty and with racial profiling it has become guilty by association of heritage.
As far as going further to be more invasive due to heritage this can cost an officer their badge. Street stops became unconstitutional in the case Terry v. Ohio. This means an officer cannot approach a civilian on the street and confront them just because the officer has suspicion that the civilian will cause a crime. (Stringer, 2012) Though this concept has become unconstitutional it is still used and racial profiling killed too many people last year. This problem is not just a problem it is an epidemic with a simple solution to stop assuming heritage equals guilt.
Vigne, L., G, N., Lachman, P., Rao, S., & Matthews, A. (2014) Stop and Frisk. – Retrieved March 15, 2016, from http://ric-zai-inc.com/Publications/cops-p306-pub.pdf
Stringer, S. (2012). Beyond Stop-and-Frisk: Toward Policing That Works. Retrieved March 15, 2016, from http://www.thenation.com/article/beyond-stop-and-frisk-toward-policing-works