So the debate over “stop-and-frisk” in New York has blown up again…as it should. It is incredible that in this day and age we allow police officers to stop someone and shake them down without probable cause.
We employ our police officers to protect our rights and the rights of others. How is it that we, as employers who pay for their protection, seem to have very limited say in how they go about their line of work? The Police Commissioner, Raymond Kelly, didn’t even show at the city counsel meeting. Doesn’t he work for the city? If an issue directly relating to his department is on the blocks, then how is it he can dismiss the need to show before the very people who employ him?
Not only is this a clear violation of the Constitution, but it is an embarrassment to humanity. No one can tell me that race does not factor into stop-and-frisk. As the article shows, most of those who were stopped are blacks and Latinos. I guarantee you that if Officer Suburbia Joe started to stop-and-frisk white teens as they walked too and from school, the outcry would be loud enough to crack the Liberty Bell all the way to the top!
The only time that the governing body of a police department should be told they cannot implement police policy is if those same policies and procedures violate the rights of others. That, of course, would be for the courts to decide. And while I believe every officer has a right to defend their own life and be afforded ways to keep themselves safe, it should not be at the expense of the rights of others.
Fortunately, a federal appeals court has shown some shred of sanity by allowing a class-action lawsuit go to trial next year in an attempt to overturn the stop-and-frisk legislation. We should all watch this closely, as if this insane law is allowed to continue it will be just a matter of time before it spreads to affect us all.