Philadelphia Still Conducting Illegal Stop-And-Frisks, Despite Agreeing to Change the Policy

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Police Commissioner Richard Ross
Police Commissioner Richard Ross

The Philadelphia Police Department is conducting illegal stop-and-frisk searches, even though other cities have slowed down or stopped all together.

A report by the Philadelphia American Civil Liberties Union reveals that only 42 of 2,380 stops in 2015 yielded contraband, with a total of six guns recovered. Only four guns were found during the 326 reported frisks. The report states that this is a trend. The stops tend to yield very few guns. Further data states that in the 2,380 stops from last year the mass majority — 2,338 people — were innocent of wrongdoing.

The Associated Press reported that Philadelphia’s Black population is 44 percent and that many of  the stops showed apparent racial disparities that “cannot be explained by non-racial factors.”

The ACLU report said:

“For the First and Second Quarters of 2015, plaintiffs found that 33% of all stops and 42% of all frisks were without reasonable suspicion. The City reports even higher rates: for the Second Quarter, 62% of all stops and 53% of all frisks were without reasonable suspicion.”

The ACLU conducted six reports dating back to 2011. Their numbers show that the process is not working. In 2011 and 2012, 90 percent of all marijuana arrests involved Black and Hispanic people. There were 1,100 frisks and searches in 2012 and 2013, and only three guns were found. In 2014, there were 433 frisks, which yielded only two guns.

“Philadelphia’s communities of color disproportionately bear the brunt of these unconstitutional policing practices,” Executive Director Reggie Shuford of the ACLU’s Pennsylvania branch said in a statement. “They are understandably fed up and demand an immediate stop to being treated like second-class citizens.”

Since 2011, the ACLU has asked the PPD to halt the illegal practice, but the city has only scaled back the stop-and-frisks. Philadelphia agreed to change its stop-and-frisk policies when it settled a class-action lawsuit in the same year.

The city’s Police Commissioner Richard Ross said Tuesday in a press conference that the stop-and-frisk policy will always be used and enforced in the city.

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