4 Charts That Show Stop-and-Frisk Is a Terrible Crime-Fighting Tool

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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ACLU: Philly Police Still Stopping and Frisking

crime main

Updated with response from police.

Philadelphia Police continue to single out “racial minorities” for unfair and unconstitutional stop-and-frisk searches, the American Civil Liberties Union said in a report released today. The ACLU said it was considering seeking “court intervention” in the matter.

“On the issue of whether stops and frisks are supported by reasonable suspicion, the data shows very high levels of impermissible stops,” the ACLU said in a court filing.

“And, on the issue of whether impermissible racial factors are causing high numbers of racial minorities to be stopped and frisked, consideration of the ‘benchmarks’ for assessing possible racial bias demonstrates that non-racial factors do not explain the racial disparities,” the filing said. “There is an urgent need for substantial improvements on both issues, and if that is not accomplished in the near future, we will seek court intervention.”

“The Department is aware of the recent filing by the ACLU and the law department will respond accordingly via the courts,” Philly Police said in a written statement released this afternoon. “The Department will not release any rebuttal prior to taking the appropriate legal action through the courts.”
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We Need to Integrate Black History Month

What do you consider diverse? You may have thought you knew what the term “diversity” meant, and have probably agreed that achieving it is a worthy goal. Although diversity is a complex concept, attaining it requires curiosity and action – and, above all, inclusion – from all.

Currently, the nation is in the midst of its 39th annual Black History Month, and it is clear to me that when it comes to diversity, it is often non-minorities who feel the term applies to others, not them, thus defeating the purpose of the notion. Read more »

My Biracial Life: A Memoir

Clockwise from upper left: The author as an infant, at age 2, at 13, at 15, at 19, and at 24. Photographs by Christine  Osinski

Clockwise from upper left: The author as an infant, at age 2, at 13, at 15, at 19, and at 24. Photographs by Christine Osinski

It’s 1:30 a.m. on a Saturday night at the barren 24-hour Melrose Diner in South Philly. I’m there alone. The hostess is hawkeyed at the cash register, as if I’m going to steal her silverware. She eventually moseys up to my booth. “Do you have a tan, or is that your natural skin color?” she asks. Natural, I tell her. “What are you?” I give her three guesses. “Hawaiian?” Nope. “Samoan?” Getting colder. At this point, a nearby server who’s been eavesdropping on the conversation decides to join in. “Puerto Rican,” he says. Wrong. “Dominican.” Wrong again. Then, five minutes after I’ve told them my ethnicity, a third member of the waitstaff comes up to me. “Hey, I like your skin color — what are you?”

Welcome to my world.
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Marshawn Lynch’s Upside-Down Example

NFL: NFC Championship-San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

As Marshawn Lynch made a mockery of his Super Bowl interviews last week, he also became the symbol of the persecuted black man.

In a day and age where all of us have the responsibility of thought to real racial issues, I found the Lynch caper to be a waste of some really good energy.

With Marshawn Lynch, where was the cause? He didn’t want to talk to the media. Apparently his attitude for not talking goes back to his days as a running back with the Buffalo Bills, where the press excoriated him for some off-the-field transgressions. OK, I got that. Lynch wanted to get back at the press. But where else was there a racial cause?
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What New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait Gets Wrong About Political Correctness

Jonathan Chait, previously a senior editor at The New Republic and currently a writer at New York magazine, spent a great amount of words last week espousing the virtues of freedom, liberty, and being able to say what you want. The New Republic is seen as something of an institution in journalism, though not without its problems, problems which have been discussed critically and ardently by prominent members of the journalism community, including The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates. In December, the magazine suffered losses as many staffers resigned in response to a change in editorial direction. Chait was among those who resigned.

Now on solid ground at New York, Chait once a voice on the front lines liberalism at his old post, is using his new footing to push back on the criticism he and his colleagues received as editors at The New Republic. Chait’s missive is a challenge to liberal culture’s need for so-called political correctness.

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Arcadia University to Host “Letters to Trayvon” Event

A flyer for "Letters to Trayvon" at Arcadia University.

A flyer for “Letters to Trayvon” at Arcadia University.

Trayvon Martin is dead, but Arcadia University will not see him forgotten.

The university on the outskirts of Philadelphia will take the last weekend of February — the third anniversary of Martin’s death — to celebrate his life with a social media campaign, art exhibit, and a sit-down interview with Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father.

“This is going to be an evening of healing and celebration,” said Dr. Doreen Loury, an Arcadia faculty member helping coordinate the event.
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It’s Time to End Black History Month

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Frederick Douglass, public domain

A version of this article ran in February, 2012.

Despite being the self-described “Angriest Black Man in America,” I agree with many whites who argue that Black History Month should be abolished.

But we agree for totally different reasons.

They want it abolished because they’re either, at best, racially insensitive or, at worst, just plain racist. That’s why they take the emotionally based position that Black History Month is nothing more than some reverse racism entitlement nonsense that gives credit to a whiny race of shiftless people who have always received much more than they have ever given to America and the colonies.

Furthermore, they claim, Black History Month is unfair to white ethnics whose ancestors came here through Ellis Island and were subjected to harsh discrimination. But, they contend, instead of complaining, their ancestors simply fought through it, pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps, and in just a few generations became educated, successful, and even prosperous members of society, living the American Dream.

Moreover, they say, they never needed no damn English, Italian, German, Polish, or other history month because their superior actions spoke louder than inferior words. Therefore, they opine, Black History Month should be abolished.

Good conclusion. Bad reasoning.

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If Martin Luther King Jr. Were Alive Today, Would He Be a Conservative?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reacts in St. Augustine, Fla., after learning that the Senate passed the Civil Rights Bill, June 19, 1964.  (AP Photo)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reacts in St. Augustine, Fla., after learning that the Senate passed the Civil Rights Bill, June 19, 1964. (AP Photo)

Here are a few names Martin Luther King Jr. would probably be called if he were still alive and active in politics today.

Race hustler. Socialist. Peacenik. Commie. Blame-America-firster.

Today is the day that we celebrate Dr. King and his dream. He’s been dead long enough, and the cause he fought for now mainstream enough, that the day is celebrated on a bipartisan basis — so much so that Republicans have even, in recent years, tried to claim that King would be one of them.


More likely is this: If Martin Luther King Jr. were alive, Republicans would sneer at him in the same fashion they do every other African-American leader who isn’t, well, a Republican — which is to say almost all of them.

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