A controversial criminal justice program has been called “stop and frisk.” The New York City, New York program has been the one predominantly in the news (New York Civil Liberties Union, 2014). However, programs that target minorities for profiling by law enforcement officers (LEOs) actually occur throughout the United States. Recently, The Atlantic published an article about racial profiling in Miami Gardens, Florida. The reporter referred to the racial profiling as “stop and frisk on steroids.”
In the story, the reporter, Conor Friedersdorf, recounts how the police have repeatedly harassed minority citizens. In the severest case, one black convenience store clerk, was stopped and questioned by LEOs on 258 separate occasions. Even worse, the man was arrested sixty-two different occasions. He was charged with trespassing. He was at his place of employment. His boss expressed disbelief that the man would be repeatedly arrested for merely trying to go to work. With the policies of the local police, many individuals were repeatedly stopped and questioned. Most were minorities. Two hundred fifty individuals were stopped over twenty times (Friedersdorf, 2014).
One cannot read this article without feeling a sense of anger and outrage over what is clearly an abuse of the criminal justice system. It is unsettling, to say the least, that a man would be repeatedly arrested for merely going to his job. In this city, minorities are clearly harassed and even abused by the local police. One possible way to prevent this in the future is to have a neutral board oversee law enforcement policies that allow LEOs to stop and to question individuals for no apparent reason. If there is public oversight by a board, these policies may be stopped. Unfortunately, it often takes a court case to stop policies that work on the principles of racial profiling. Policies such as this should be declared unconstitutional (Center for Constitutional Rights, 2014).
- Center for Constitutional Rights. (2014). Daniels et al v. the City of New York. Retrieved June 5, 2014, from: http://ccrjustice.org/ourcases/past-cases/daniels,-et-al.-v.-city-new-york
- Friedersdorf, C. (2014, May 30). The city where blacks suffer under “stop and frisk on steroids.” The Atlantic. Retrieved June 5, 2014, from: http://www.theatlantic.com
- New York Civil Liberties Union. (2014). Stop and frisk. Retrieved June 5, 2014, from: http://www.nyclu.org/issues/racial-justice/stop-and-frisk-practices