Greens Oppose Philly’s Stop-and-Frisk
• Wed, Aug 10, 2011
By Chris Robinson
“My father said if you are ever stopped by the police, you say, “Yes, Sir – No Sir.” Tell the officer what’s in your wallet. Don’t, don’t make no sudden moves and don’t run. Just get through whatever the situation is,’ Nutter said. ‘Those lessons stuck with me.’” [See, Philadelphia Daily News, June 22, 2011, page 3.]
During 2005, Philadelphia’s police made 102,319 pedestrian stops. When Michael Nutter became Mayor of Philadelphia in 2008, he ordered an increase in pedestrian stops under a policy commonly called “Stop-and-Frisk.” By 2009, pedestrian stops by police had increased 148 percent to 253,333. Of that total, 72 percent of the victims were African Americans, but only 8 percent of those pedestrian stops resulted in an arrest.
I, for one, would like to know what we should call the other 92 percent of those pedestrian stops. Were those 233,066 citizens “harassed by the police?” Were they “intimidated by the police?” Or should we say, “Their rights under the U.S. Constitution were violated?”
The Green Party has a history of opposition to stop-and-frisk. Under the heading “Racial Discrimination,” the Green Party national platform says, “We condemn the practice of racial profiling by law enforcement agencies, which are guilty of stopping motorists, harassing individuals, or using unwarranted violence against suspects with no other justification than race or ethnic background.”
At a Philadelphia City Council hearing on December 14, 2010, Green Party leader Hugh Giordano, who had run for PA House of Representatives, made it clear that stop-and-frisk targets, urban, minority and young citizens. “This law is a form of Jim Crow law,” said Giordano, referring to discriminatory laws used to maintain segregation of the races. “It attacks a certain group of people, and the numbers and testimony shows it.” Giordano also criticized Philadelphia’s City Council for allowing stop-and-frisk to continue unabated.
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