In a move counterproductive to his struggling Black voter outreach, Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump called for nationwide use of stop-and-frisk practices by city police officers Wednesday.
The controversial crime-fighting tactic has long been challenged for its tendency to disproportionately profile, target and criminalize citizens of color. So, it’s clear to see how Trump’s baneful proposal couldn’t come at a worse time, as the country continues to reel from the recent police shootings of Black men in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Charlotte, North Carolina.
The former reality TV star has always voiced his support of stop-and-frisk policing, citing its success in his hometown of New York. According to the New York Times, the city has since abandoned the unconstitutional practice, but that hasn’t stopped Trump from suggesting that it be implemented in other major cities across the country.
The presidential candidate reiterated his enthusiasm for stop-and-frisk during a town hall meeting in Cleveland Heights, Ohio Wednesday night when a voter asked how he planned to reduce crime and violence in predominately Black communities.
“One of the things I’d do, is I’d do stop-and-frisk,” Trump responded. “We did it in New York and it worked incredibly well, and you have to be proactive.”
Trump went on to state that stop-and-frisk tactics would work well in cities dealing with high rates of crime like, like Cleveland and Chicago, the New York Times reports.
“I see what’s going on here, I see what’s going on in Chicago,” the GOP candidate said during the Fox News-hosted event.
The widely-disputed tactic basically allows police officers to stop and search a pedestrian, regardless of whether or not they’re under suspicion for committing a crime. Per ABC News, the policy rose to prominence in the 1990s under the leadership Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor Rudy Giuliani — a close friend of Trump’s.
The policy also drew severe scrutiny, as it gave officers the legal right to racially profile and discriminate against Black and Latino citizens. For instance, the New York Times reports that 83 percent of police stops in New York between 2004 and 2014 involved Blacks and Latinos — even though the two groups account for slightly over 50 percent of the city’s population.
Federal New York Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ultimately ruled the practice of stop-and-frisk unconstitutional in 2013, as it unjustly violated the rights of the the city’s minority residents, according to the newspaper. The ruling was appealed by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but repudiated NYPD once Mayor Bill de Blasio took office.
“We would ask Donald Trump to bone up on his knowledge of what is constitutional and what is unconstitutional,” said New York State Representative and Congressional Black Caucus member Yvette Clark (D-New York) of the presidential candidates proposal to implement nationwide stop-and-frisk procedures.
Mayor Bill de Blasio even blasted Trump for his misguided suggestion, asserting that the controversial practice would only “alienate the very people who we need to be partners with in the fight against crime.”
“He does not understand how policing works,” de Blasio said.
According to Politico, Trump has since back tracked on his statements, clarifying that he was only referring to enacting stop-and-frisk in Chicago — not nationwide.
“I was really referring to Chicago with stop-and-frisk,” he told “Fox and Friends” during a phone interview Thursday. “They asked me about Chicago and I was talking about stop-and-frisk for Chicago.”
“I think Chicago needs stop-and-frisk,” Trump continued. “Now, people can criticize me for that or people can say whatever they want, but they asked me about Chicago, and I think stop-and-frisk, with good, strong, you know, good, strong law and order. But you have to do something. It can’t continue the way it’s going.”
Stop-and-frisk is currently practiced in Chicago, but its use is monitored by an independent third party, the New York Times reports.