Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Origins Of Stop-and-Frisk

In the 1950s police officials in other cities took up, and expanded, the stop-and-search tactics pioneered by the LAPD, embracing a proactive, preventative theory of crime fighting. Chiefs from San Francisco to New York City began to prioritize the street stop or field interrogation as a way to conduct surveillance of suspicious people and habitual offenders, elevating a very old tactic — patrolmen had always stopped and searched persons they deemed suspicious — into official strategy. Tellingly, “stop-and-frisk” did not become a thing, hyphenated and conjoined, until 1964, the year New York State passed the country’s first law under that name. As stop-and-search policing became more deliberate and systematic, police presence in minority neighborhoods became heavier and more intrusive. While police continued to ignore murders of black people, they were increasingly quick to pounce on a corner if a few black men gathered there to gossip or talk politics.


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