Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump has now proposed increasing the practice of stop-and-frisk tactics as a way to stop violence in our country’s black communities. His comments came during a candidates forum last week and during the Presidential debate this week, sparking criticism from many. Trump cited past experiences in New York as proof that the tactic works. What he failed to mention is that in cities across the country, including New York, Los Angeles and our hometown of Chicago, the methods have been found unconstitutional for disproportionately targeting minorities. Furthermore, these tactics breed mistrust and contempt of police officers when communities and police departments should be working together. During a time where the public’s relationship with law enforcement is teetering on more troubled than ever, the perils of such an approach would be detrimental to our city’s neighborhoods.
Pending currently is a class action lawsuit filed by Romanucci & Blandin, LLC asserting that the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) widespread constitutional abuses, including inadequately monitoring CPD officers and their stop and frisk practices, have prospered as a result of, and are directly caused by, policies and practices enforced by the City of Chicago.
“This practice is being done primarily to African American individuals without reasonable suspicion required under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution,” noted Lead Attorney on the Stop and Frisk lawsuit, Antonio M. Romanucci. “Instead, the CPD employs race and/or national origin as determinative factors in deciding to stop and frisk individuals. This is in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment – plain and simple.”
This class action lawsuit to stop the persistent practice of unconstitutional stop and frisks in Chicago follows a landmark federal class action lawsuit filed in 2008 against the City of New York and New York Police Department (NYPD) (Floyd, et al. v. City of New York). In August 2013, a federal judge found the NYPD liable for a pattern and practice of racial profiling and unconstitutional stops and frisks.
So now you determine Mr. Trump if stop and frisk tactics can be touted as extremely successful in your hometown of New York. We say absolutely not.