Transparency needed in Detroit stop-and-frisk

http://blogs.detroitnews.com/politics/2013/08/28/transparency-needed-wake-detroit-stop-frisk-news/

Aug 28, 2013, 9:30 am       

Transparency needed in Detroit stop-and-frisk

        

A federal judge recently ruled against the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk program as being unconstitutional because it indiscriminately targeted young black and Latino males. The judge correctly ruled that reasonable suspicion to detain and search young men, even in high crime neighborhoods, cannot be predicated on race.

A form of stop-and-frisk has expanded to Detroit now. The Detroit Police Department (DPD) has been working in conjunction with the Manhattan Institute and the Bratton Group – organizations that helped implement New York’s unconstitutional program. In fact, the Manhattan Institute continues to be a rigorous defender of stop-and-frisk in New York.

Given that DPD is still not in full compliance with a federal consent decree due its history of abusive practices against citizens, having a pro-profiling think tank assisting with police logistics is highly troublesome. And since DPD does not have a stellar reputation for being transparent, it’s also problematic that citizens do not have full knowledge of the full scope of cooperation and training of these New York groups with DPD. It would be nice to also know how many tax dollars are going to pay these stop-and-frisk promoters.

Improving public safety in any municipality cannot come at the expense of residents having basic civil rights – including 4th Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Behavioral profiling of persons who display furtive movements does not coincide simply with being a young male of color who wears a hoodie, for example.

That Detroit is 80 percent black is inconsequential if tactical training is implemented that instructs police that it’s okay to stop, question and search people to preempt crime based upon race – thus harrassing residents who are not in the act of committing any crimes. Such policing is not only a violation of civil rights and human dignity but also breaks the trust between community and police.

It would be preferable if the emergency manager and police chief could answer the questions posed above. They should  explain how the police are being training by these outside groups and how much they are being paid. If not, perhaps litigation or the federal monitor, who is overseeing the police dept. consent decree, will get us the answers that we’re looking for.

 

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