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Stop and Frisk, a Controversy That Needs Immediate Reform

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Stop and frisk, a controversy that needs immediate reform

On a typical Sunday morning, a black man in Brooklyn leaves his home to buy a drink from his local store when New York police officers throw him up against the wall and check his pockets. When they find nothing, the police release him without a summons and without arresting him because he did nothing wrong. He was walking to the corner store. Since 2002, innocent New Yorkers have been subjected to police stops and street interrogations more than five million times. Nearly nine out of 10 stopped-and-frisked New Yorkers have been completely innocent. Without disciplinary standards, improved documentation of police activity and community interaction, the rights of people of color during police encounters in New York City will continue to be violated. And if these reforms do not happen through the community-input process, they will never happen. Working together is a vital key in decreasing unwarranted searches. Stop and frisk is a complicated problem that's causing controversy among thousands of people and if it isn’t reformed quickly, innocent people will continue to be searched with no reasonable reason to believe a person is armed and dangerous.

African American and Hispanic citizens have been subjected to stop and frisks so often in New York City that it had become a normalcy to be detained by a police officer every day. In New York, Black and Latinos make up 4.7 percent of the city’s population, but they account for 41.6 percent of stops in 2011. 90% of young black and Latino men that were stopped were innocent. But, why are they the main targets? Implicit bias plays an immense role in these quick judgements a police officer makes when detaining a person. When a police officer has unconscious bias it distorts their perception and ensures treatment either in favor of or against a given person or group. When an officer stops a person for no apparent reason, it can have harmful and mental effects on their mind. In a study led by New York University sociologist Amanda Geller, young men in New York City who’ve been stopped and questioned or searched by police, as part of the city police department’s stop-and-frisk policy, are more likely to show signs of anxiety or PTSD. And the more times they’ve been stopped by police, the more anxiety they tend to have. Stop and frisk is not just a statistical problem, it is a mental problem that is taking a toll on our young generation. It may not see like a problem to police enforcement because, oh well, it's not like they are going to jail right? But, it may influence how they act after. A study by police equity showed that too many stops and frisks may actually lead to future criminal behavior.

Law-abiding individuals have to deal with these unlawful stoppings by the police daily. A man named David Ourlicht is all too familiar by the encounters he has to face with cops every day. He describes his usual morning with his friend when the police started running towards them with guns. Ourlicht was placed in a dilemma where his words and actions meant none to the police. Laying on the ground and feeling a gun pointed at the back of his head was unquestionably a scary experience



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