To my knowledge I don’t know anyone that has ever been stopped and frisked by the NYPD. Ah, the benefits of being middle class:
The tactic, however, is a remarkably imprecise instrument. Less than 2 percent of police stops led to the recovery of a weapon. By contrast, the unbridled use of stops leaves a deep bruise of unfairness, particularly around the issue of race.
I tried this around my dining room table this weekend. I am white and my sons — Aidan, 19, and Nick, 24 — travel to many corners of a city that they love. Has a cop, I asked, ever stopped you?
Both shook their heads no.
On Monday morning, I put that question to eight black male students who attend the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Cumulatively, they said they had been stopped 92 times.
I find it hard to believe that treating every black or brown male in the city of New York like a criminal when crime is at historic lows is effective policing. To think this is legal is scary. They also do it in Chicago, for that matter. I can’t even count the number of times I saw cops randomly frisking a group of 16 year olds who were doing nothing more than hang out together in a park or on the street. I would be interested to see a study on the psychological and long term impact this practice has on the relationships between police and the public.