So who is really right about the stop and frisk issue? Donald Trump claims that stop and frisk bought the murder rates down and that it was and is fully constitutional. Hillary Clinton claims that because the stop and frisk popularity has gone done, so has the crime rate and that stop and frisk is unconstitutional.
The argument was brought up during the first Presidential Debate after the question was asked: “The share of Americans that say race relations are bad is the highest it been in decades. Much of it amplified by shootings of African Americans by police as we’ve seen recently in Charlotte and Tulsa. Race has been a big issue in this campaign, and one of you is going to have to bridge a very wide and bitter gap. So how do you heal the divide?” – Lester Holt
Trump’s response was heavily weighted with the repetition of the words “law and order”. He suggests that by actively putting stop and frisk into action, the crime rates will go down. He uses New York as an example for stop and frisk being put into action effectively.
In New York, during the time that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly were in office, the stop and frisk frequency was higher by over 600 percent. Yes, during that time there was a significant murder drop, but that change happened all around the country in cities that were not enforcing heavy stop and frisk. So the change could very well have little to nothing to do with the stop and frisk policies. An interesting fact is that according to New York Civil Liberties Union, in 2011-13 there was another major crime drop that happened at the same time that there was a major drop in the frequency of stop and frisk.
So Trump might be wrong about the effectiveness of the stop and frisk, but does that mean that Hillary was right? She was correct that the crime rate has continued to drop even though the stop and frisk has diminished. But is it unconstitutional? Stop and frisk is actually used in police departments all around the country even today. It is completely legal for a cop to stop, interrogate, and frisk someone that that believe to have either just committed a crime or is about to commit a crime. However, the use of stop and frisk that Trump refers to is where police stop any suspicious looking character. The Stop and frisk was greatly encouraged and perhaps even over used.
The main problem is that 86.1 % of the “suspicious characters” that were stopped were either African American or Hispanic even though they only made up 54% of the population. Racial profiling was so prevailing that the issue was brought to court and was found to violate the fourth amendment. However the judge was suspended so that case was never finished. So has a whole, according to the Supreme Court, stop and frisk is constitutional and totally legal.
So stop and frisk is constitutional, but it hasn’t been proven to be effective in stopping violence related crime.