Does The Stop-and-Frisk Practice Sanction Racial Profiling?
With the national spotlight on the Trayvon Martin story raising questions of racial stereotyping in the name of maintaining public safety, New York lawmakers are debating a police practice opponents say sanctions racial profiling. Under New York City’s stop-and-frisk practice, officers can stop, question and frisk people on the street deemed suspicious.
By and large, lawmakers who oppose the stop-and-frisk tactic are racial minorities, some of whom say they have been stopped by police because of their race. Many white lawmakers, however, have been silent on the issue or support the practice.
Gov. David A. Paterson, the state’s first black governor, told The New York Times that he’s been stopped three times by police. “It’s a feeling of being degraded. I think that’s what people who it hasn’t happened to don’t understand.”
Supporters and police officials have said that the practice helps reduce violence that has disproportionately affected black and Latino communities.