And you will wonder why.
And you will know.
You were “walking or driving while black”, or brown. Pretty much stop and frisk laws don’t apply to driving. But the principle is still pretty much the same. Pretty much they don’t apply to white people. Pretty much they are really “stop and frisk that black/brown kid” laws.
And I should know.
I worked with this stuff for twenty years, “back in the day”. Yes, it goes back that far, in fact it goes back way far. To the early 60’s.
When crime was “rampant” and large cities were losing white folks due to “white flight”, and that was due to “crime” or so they thought. And so they thought they would get tough on crime.
Detroit, of which I am intimately familiar, did it with a unit called S.T.R.E.S.S. (Stop the Robberies, Enjoy Safe Streets). It was supposed to reduce crime. All it did was make the black community fear and hate the cops, and after a whole lot of black kids were shot to death, it was disbanded by newly elected black mayor Coleman Young.
S.T.R.E.S.S. had been brought to an end before I arrived, freshly washed behind the ears, full of the desire to stick it to the “pigs” and protect “the people” from militarist style policing.
But then there was stop and frisk. Stop and Frisk arose from a case called Terry v. Ohio. Now we can ignore the facts, and just state the rule: “if an officer comes upon a person who he reasonably believes is, has or is about to commit a crime, he may, IF he can point to specific and articulable facts from which it can reasonably be deduced that the person so confronted is armed and dangerous, he may pat down the outer clothing of said person for the SOLE purpose of determining whether said person is carrying a weapon.” Whew. Got all that?
If he feels a weapon, he may retrieve it. Otherwise he may ask the person questions which may or may not allay his fears and concerns. The point of the frisk is solely for the officer or “bystanders” safety in the moment. The law was extended to an “area” around the individual to which he might “lunge” in an attempt to secure a weapon. (read glove box or sofa or other hiding spot).
Now that’s what the law says is legal.
And being a normal person, you assume that that is how it works.
If you believe that then you believe that doctors and nurses have no dirty little secrets about what goes on in hospitals, labs and operating rooms, and you trust the military to always follow the rules of war.
Some of you may be familiar with the Rules of Justice as enunciated by Alan Dershowitz, well-known professor of law and attorney:
I. ALMOST ALL CRIMINAL DEFENDANTS ARE , IN FACT, GUILTY.
II. ALL CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS, PROSECUTORS AND JUDGES UNDERSTAND AND BELIEVE RULE I.
III. IT IS EASIER TO CONVICT GUILTY DEFENDANTS BY VIOLATING THE CONSTITUTION THAN BY COMPLYING WITH IT, AND IN SOME CASES IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO CONVICT GUILTY DEFENDANTS WITHOUT VIOLATING THE CONSTITUTION.
IV. ALMOST ALL POLICE LIE ABOUT WHETHER THEY VIOLATED THE CONSTITUTION IN ORDER TO CONVICT GUILTY DEFENDANTS.
V. ALL PROSECUTORS, JUDGES AND DEFENSE ATTORNEYS ARE AWARE OF RULE IV.
VI. MANY PROSECUTORS IMPLICITLY ENCOURAGE POLICE TO LIE ABOUT WHETHER THEY VIOLATED THE CONSTITUTION IN ORDER TO CONVICT GUILTY DEFENDANTS.
VII. ALL JUDGES ARE AWARE OF RULE VI.
VIII. MOST TRIAL JUDGES PRETEND TO BELIEVE POLICE OFFICERS WHO THEY KNOW ARE LYING
IX. ALL APPELLATE JUDGES ARE AWARE OF RULE VIII, YET MANY PRETEND TO BELIEVE THE TRIAL JUDGES WHO PRETEND TO BELIEVE THE POLICE OFFICERS.
X. MOST JUDGES DISBELIEVE DEFENDANTS ABOUT WHETHER THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS HAVE BEEN VIOLATED, EVEN IF THEY ARE TELLING THE TRUTH.
XI. MOST JUDGES AND PROSECUTORS WOULD NOT KNOWINGLY CONVICT A DEFENDANT WHO THEY BELIEVE TO BE INNOCENT OF THE CRIME CHARGED (OR A CLOSELY RELATED CRIME).
XII. RULE XI DOES NOT APPLY TO MEMBERS OF ORGANIZED CRIME, DRUG DEALERS, CAREER CRIMINALS, OR POTENTIAL INFORMANTS.
XIII. NOBODY REALLY WANTS JUSTICE.
And that my friends is pretty close to being the utter truth. In big city courts, it’s mostly about moving the mountain of cases through the system in a reasonable order, such that the state supreme court doesn’t start getting on your back for “backlogs”. The entire plea-bargaining system is predicated on it–too many cases, not enough cells. Plead to something you did not do, get out of jail, OR insist on a trial, wait until next year and wait IN jail for it, and God help you if you lose, cuz them I’m gonna throw the damned book and the library it’s attached to at ya, and say hi to not getting out of prison before you’re a very old man.
That’s the system.
So, how is this stop and frisk actually done in practice you ask?
Well, it goes something like this:
- Drive to area which is designated as “high crime” usually involving drugs.
- Swoop in. Multiple police cars coming from all for directions works best.
- Jump out and start chasing all the young black men you see.
- Scream a lot, using the “f” word liberally.
- Spread-eagle on any wall of any building all those corralled.
- Search them all.
- Go around the sidewalks picking up any dope you find lying around.
- Arrest anyone who was “holding”. Give the “found” dope to anyone who is a big mouth.
- At station, write a report that says something like:
“My partner and I, while on routine patrol in the vicinity of John R and Erskine, observed the defendant walking down the sidewalk. As we approached, he looked in our direction, then turned and walked briskly away. As he was walking, I saw a white folded up paper, which through previous experience, I suspected was cocaine, fall from his hand onto the sidewalk. We stopped the scout car, and my partner went toward the paper while I continued to follow the defendant on foot. My partner alerted me that it was suspected cocaine, and I detained the defendant and placed him under arrest.”
And that is what he will testify to in court, or as we now call it, testalie.
And the defendant will most often plead, though he was one of the loudmouths who didn’t have any dope, but was visiting his uncle’s house down the street, and was actually sitting on the porch when the police came in and ordered him off the porch. He told them they were harassing him for no reason and that he would sue. So he got to be “it” –the recipient of any contraband they could not obviously tie to any individual.
He will plead because the judge said he would entertain a motion to release him on personal bond if he copped, but alas if he wanted a trial (which he really does, being innocent and all), he won’t get one for five months and being a drug user presumably, poses such a risk to all, that he will have to remain in the county jail all that time. Oh, and due to the fact that he has no record,he will surely get probation most probably (I’m sure your lawyer already told you that) for a plea, but if a jury convicts you, well then we will just have to see (the book is headed for your head).
And that is how justice is pretty much meted out in the mean streets of big city USA, and yeah, it’s all racial profiling, and worse, and nobody thinks it can be fixed, because nobody really cares.
All that crap Bloomberg has been spouting about “stop, question, frisk? Pure bull.
Are we clear?
- Stop & Frisk (skyestats.wordpress.com)
- Judge Rules NYC Stop-and-Frisk Policy Unconstitutional (newsy.com)
- Stop And Frisk Is Criminal (dish.andrewsullivan.com)