Detroit To Begin Stop and Frisk


Credit: Sam Grace Lewis / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Despite the fact that New York's stop and frisk was found unconstitutional by a federal court last week, the program is finding a foothold in another city. Detroit, in search of a solution for rampant crime, may implement stop and frisk.

According to The Detroit News, the city's police department hired contractors from The Manhattan Institute and Bratton Group which, "pioneered the practice when they developed New York's stop-and-frisk program." The contractors will begin to integrate the system with Detroit's traffic police. By allowing officers to stop and frisk suspicious individuals on the road the traffic unit will "evolve its mission from principally the issuance of tickets toward the prevention of crime."

A Fox News report says that specific details about the program have yet to be revealed.

Judge Shira Sheindlin, who was responsible for the ruling on New York's program, pointed out that "both statistical and anecdotal evidence" about stop and frisk pointed toward racial profiling. Additionally, she said, "Many police practices may be useful for fighting crime… but because they are unconstitutional they cannot be used, no matter how effective."

Detroit's Assistant Chief of Police, Eric Ewing, disagrees. The chief said that stopping and frisking suspicious individuals is "just being proactive." He also responded to racial and constitutional concerns:

Based on reasonable suspicion, the Detroit Police Department is already a stop-and-frisk policing agency. Detroit's population is mostly African American, so it stands to reason that a high number of African Americans will be stopped, based on reasonable suspicion. This is not racial profiling, just officers doing good constitutional police work.

"It's actually a pro civil rights policy, I would argue," said Heather MacDonald, a Manhattan Institute fellow. She believes stop and frisk "is done to equalize people's opportunities for success, and to make sure everyone has the same right to live in freedom from fear."

Although Detroit's Police Department statistics indicate that crime has dropped 1.62 percent since last year, it has already seen 197 murders this year and is still ranked among the most dangerous cities in the United States.

However, as the New York Times points out, stopping and frisking "only pushes crime to the boundaries of the policed zone." There is no reason to think that Detroit's experience will be any different to New York's.