I’ve always wondered why supporters of the police tactic known as “stop and frisk” think so highly of it. I guess it’s easy enough for them to brush aside questions of racial fairness and constitutional permissibility — if you’re a law-and-order type, laws that restrain police are mere obstacles to enforcing the kinds of laws that restrain suspected criminals. It’s a bad-guy-versus-good-guy world, and the good guys should always get as much help as they need fighting the bad guys, right?
Maybe. Here’s the problem though: All too often “stop and frisk” turns out to be a lousy crime-fighting tool. The ACLU of Pennsylvania on Tuesday released a report showing just how lousy. According to the analysis, Philly Police initiated more than 200,000 stop-and-frisk encounters in 2014. These five charts from the ACLU report are based on a random sample of 2,974 pedestrian stops that occurred during the first half of that year.
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