Unpacking Stop-and-Frisk

September 29, 2016 - Blood Orange 09/29/2016 Views: 75,855

Trevor breaks down how New York City's controversial stop-and-frisk program targeted young men of color and exacerbated racial tensions. (7:50)

Now, now, at the debate,both candidates were asked

the question, with allthe recent police shootings,

how do you begin to healthe racial divide in America?

Because it seemslike it's getting worse.

In fact, in some communities,even the Oreos are segregated.

And, now, Hillary went first,

suggestingbetter police training,

getting guns off the street,

and improvingcommunity relations

by hosting regular dance-offsin the streets.

Uh, all right? Okay,that was fake, that was fake.

But I think it would bea great suggestion.

Just Hillary's like,"And now dance."


Uh, but then, after Hillary,

it was timefor Trump's rebuttal,

and he had a slightly,completely different answer.

First of all, Secretary Clintondoesn't want to use

a couple of words,and that's "law" and "order."

And we need law and order.

We have to take the guns awayfrom these people that have them

and that are bad peoplethat shouldn't have 'em.

These are felons.

You have to have stop-and-frisk.

Ah, Donatello, you're a genius.

That's why you'rethe science turtle, my friend.

Yes. To help blackand white people get along.

Black people haveto stop committing crimes.

It's that simple. And I getwhat Trump is saying, you know?

I get this divide. Being halfblack and half white myself,

I face this internal conflictevery day. Every day.

Hell, I frisk myselfall the time.

All the time!

-(cheering and applause)-And, I mean...

Other people call itjerking off,

but I knowwhat I'm searching for.

It's love.

Now, Trump wasn't bringing upstop-and-frisk out of nowhere.

For the last 20 years or so,it's been a major theory

of policing, where if copson the street think someone

is asking suspicious,they pat them down, stop them,

you know, look for weapons,and then send them on their way.

Uh, it's like a mini massage.

Even the name sounds fun.Stop-and-frisk, yeah?

It soundslike sexy role play, yeah,

or-or two German characterson an adventure.

Stop und Frisk. Hallo!

But the truth is, stop-and-friskis very controversial,

and if you've never beenstop-and-frisked,

it may be hard to imagine why.

But think of it like the TSA.

You knowwhen you're at the airport,

and you're getting patted down?

Now imagine if,instead of patting,

they're violentlygoing through your pockets,

throwing you against the wall,

cursing you outin front of everyone.

Oh, and on top of all of that,there's no flights.

It looks like this.

Three officers approached me,sort of roughed me up a bit,

particularlywhen I asked questions.

I could feel the presence

of police officers standingover me, pointing weapons at me.

I remember them banging me headinto this.

MAN: Well...well, for what? For what?

POLICEMAN:Shut your (bleep) mouth, kid.

-MAN: For... Why am I gettingarrested for? -Shut your mouth!

MAN:What am I getting arrested for?

Why did you stop and frisk me?I'm gonna give him my ID.

-I'm gonna give... Shh. Relax.-(bleep)

Officer, don't touch me!

-(indistinct chatter) -(bleep)-(garbled radio transmission)

-I'm not resisting!-(bleep)

You know, wheneveryou see a video like this,

you can't help but wonderhow many earlier incidents

we will never know about

because people didn't havecamera phones back then.

I mean, now, everyone hasan iPhone, so we see the videos.

Back in the day,if you witnessed something,

you probably just hadto thumb it

to someone on your flip phone,just be like...

-(muttering gibberish)-(laughter)

Now, you may be thinking,"Oh, well, who cares?

Those guys are criminalsso they got what's coming."

But here's the thing that Trump

and many stop-and-frisksupporters seem to gloss over.

At its peak in New York,

there were almost 700,000stop-and-frisk searches.

88% of those searchesturned up nothing.

That means in one year,

there were 605,000 stops

when people had donenothing wrong.

What's even worse is thatmany of these were teenage kids.

Now, don't get me wrong.

I mean,most teenagers are dicks,

but still, not legally speaking.

So, stop-and-friskis problematic enough,

and here's whyit's especially problematic

to say that it's going to healthe racial divide.

MAN: Between 2004 and mid 2012,

police stopped over four million people,

according to the NYPD,

nearly 90% of them black or Latino.

Blacks make up one-thirdof Chicago's population,

but they accounted for nearlythree-fourths of those stopped.

WOMAN: The ACLU says Philadelphia police stopped

and then frisked people...

with African-Americans accounting

for 69% of all stops.

Yeah, although stop-and-frisk issupposed to be applied equally,

in reality, most of the time,

it only affects people of color,like rhythm.


Police say they aren'tdiscriminating,

they're stopping peoplebased on suspicious behavior,

which, again, seems reasonable

until you see how vague the term"suspicious behavior" can be.

For instance, for instance--this is all true--

they can justifystopping and frisking a person

for looking around,

because looking around is athing that drug dealers do. Yes.

And also, I mean,people who cross streets

and also tourists,and also pigeons.


All suspicious.

In fact, the number one reason

New York police saidthey frisked people

was because of something called"furtive movements,"

which sounds like a dance classfor shy people--

right, it just sounds like a...but it's not.

It's actually any movement thatthe police feel is suspicious.

And here's how you know thatthis is targeting black people.

You could even be stoppedand frisked

just for having a bulgein your pants.


-Yeah. It's whatyou're thinking. -(laughter)

Which the police could probablymake better

if they just said that.

If they said,"We're stopping you

because it looks likeyou got a big dick,"

then guys would be like,"Well, go ahead, Officer.

"Go ahead! Go ahead!That's right!

Who's getting stop and friskedtoday, baby?!"

-(laughter, applause & cheering)"I got stopped three times!

"When was the last timeyou got stopped?

You ain't never been stopped!Ha, ha!"


But that's not what's happening.

And now, to be clear,

I'm not saying stop-and-friskwas useless.

I'm saying it wasn't worth it,

because although it helped takeillegal guns off the street,

stop-and-friskmay have other costs.

In fact, a recentYale-Columbia study has shown

that when policeregularly harasses a community,

that communityloses respect for the law.

And that could very well leadto a rise in crime.

Here's an easy wayto think of it.

Imagine if you werein a relationship,

and you're completely faithful,but every single day,

the person you're dating goes,"Are you cheating on me?

"Are you cheating on me?Show me your phone!

"Are you cheating on me?Show me your phone.

"Show me your phone.What-what are you doing?

"Show me your phone.Are you cheating on me?

"Show me your phone!Show me your phone!

"All right,I'm glad we've been working

"on healing the dividein our relationship.

"This has been going well.

"Right. You wantto have dinner tonight?

"No? You're busy? Busy with who?Show me your phone!

Show me your phone!"

It's not gonna work.

You know, people talkabout stop-and-frisk

like it was some magicalmedicine that cured crime.

Here's the suggestion I have.

If they're gonna tryand sell it that way,

the least they could dois be honest

about the side effects.

Sort of like this.

MAN: Does your fear of black people

keep you up at night?

Well, guess what? There's a solution,

and it's called Stop and Frisk.

Stop and Frisk is strong, fast-acting

and completely safe...

for white people.

Some potential side effects of Stop and Frisk may include:

blurred legal rights, racial tension...

oh, yeah-- forget about ice cream--

sudden loss of dignity, riot outbreaks,

thoughts of being trapped in a dystopian police state,

and now that glass of Merlot is considered a weapon.

At the first sign of furtive movement,

use Stop and Frisk.

Don't let a little thing like the perpetuation

of racial disharmony get in the way of you living your life.

I know I don't.

We'll be right back.