The UK is a lost cause, individual rights-wise. The good professor above can point out the non-existent effect of stop and search in the U.K. until he’s blue in the face without having any effect on Her Majesty’s government’s policing policies. Not as long as the “law and order” Tories hold sway. And probably if and when they don’t.

Here in the states, the battle for liberty never stops — despite similar statist sentiments. Lest we forget, President Trump gave the policy a big thumbs-up during the election season: “One of the things I’d do, is I would do stop-and-frisk. I think you have to. We did it in New York, it worked incredibly well and you have to be proactive.”

New York City halted its stop and frisk policy (89 percent resulted in nothing except hassle). And crime went up. According to The Wall Street Journal: “the first half of 2015, as pedestrian stops in the city plummeted, homicides rose 20 percent; gun crime was experiencing its first two-year consecutive increase in nearly two decades.”

Correlation equals causation? Anyway, how do you feel about stop and search as a police technique?

61 Responses to CapArms Question of the Day: Stop & Search…Yes or No?

  1. I will always maintain that I have a right to be left alone unless and until I am an immediate threat to somebody else or his property. Stop and frisk? Unacceptable.

    The only “pro” argument is utilitarian and if you run it to its logical inclusion, you’ll end up locking people in cells because they look like they may commit a crime at some point in the future.

    • Yep. Unacceptable. I’m against that for the same reason I hated those DUI checkpoints states used to run back in the ’80s.

      “You’re all guilty until we decide otherwise” is not how this country was meant to work. It makes my blood boil.

      • Back in the 80s? California has DUI checkpoints all the time. I haven’t seen any in Arizona yet though.

      • They do ’em on the regular in GA too, and not just for DUI, either. Reasons I’ve encountered also include “insurance checks” and “seat belt checks.” Basically, any excuse for a dragnet.

      • They don’t do that in Utah or Washington anymore, at least not that I know of. That I know of… which probably means they’re still doing it on the down-low.

        I should have known better than to think the almighty state would step back from something like this once it’s started.

        Dadgummit, you people, now I’m all het up again!

      • I’m completely against stop and frisk. I’ve never really had an issue with DUI checkpoints however. The stop and frisk leaves it up to the officer to pick out who they want to stop and frisk, a DUI checkpoint picks up everyone. I do think DUI checkpoints should be highly regulated for the officers however. Everyone has to be stopped, no asking for ID and registration, no attempting to search vehicle through windows, can’t be on major highways/interstates that will cause large traffic jams. Ultimately all those regulations on the cops would probably make it completely cost ineffective.

      • North Carolina, particularly Raleigh, does unconstitutional sobriety checkpoints. I made it a habit when I lived there to mail a copy of the crime report for the night of their checkpoints to the police office. Unilaterally, every single tine they have one of those stupid checkpoints crime goes up in the surrounding area SIGNIFICANTLY.

    • You know that “stop and frisk” isn’t a random thing like checkpoints, right? It’s based on a legal case (Terry v. Ohio) where a police officer observed two men ‘casing’ a store, one of which appeared to have a concealed firearm. So how immediate is immediate in your mind? Would the two have to pull the gun and start the robbery before not being ‘left alone’?

      • Yes. An enforcer saying “he looked suspiciously like he was about to commit a crime” is NOT justification for anything more than initiating a conversation.

  2. Stop and search based on a reasonable suspicion of a crime in progress? Sure.
    For anything else? Nyet.

    The more entertaining question, should proving that the stop and search was illegal be an affirmative defense against the charges that would result from violence against that officer in resistance of that illegal search? I say yes.

  3. You know I’ve never really thought about it. Then again I’ve never been “stopped and frisked” so I guess I’m against it and decidedly so.

    • Let me guess. You’re white, or close to it. You dress modestly and reasonably without your pants down at your thighs. You aren’t hanging around streetcorners in bad parts of town where drugs are commonly trafficked. If you see a cop you make friendly eye contact and smile because you have little to fear under ordinary circumstances, and the rest of your body language shows it.

      Funny, you haven’t been stopped and frisked. 🙂

  4. Is stop and frisk effective? Yes- I believe it deters crime and is causal rather than correlative.

    Is it constitutional, and does it jive with America’s (historic, anyhow) view of personal liberty? Heck, no! Not even close!

    Therefore, its relative effectiveness or its causation or correlation is irrelevant!

    • Exactly my thoughts, as well. It works, no denying that based on hard data. It absolutely works to reduce crime.

      That said, NO. No, no, no – it is flatly wrong.

      • Ayup, it works, but it’s un-freaking-constitutional.

        A water-gun question –

        I just came across this video of a water cannon used in Venezuela on the protesters.

        Can anyone offer a guess how many PSI they are running on it?. I’m guessing in the hundreds of PSI based on the way the protesters were blown back with *extreme* prejudice:

    • ^^^This!

      The entire purpose of Stop & Frisk is to determine if you are exercising your natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, then charge you with some sort of unconstitutional law prohibiting your exercise of that protected right.

      No police activity that is specifically aimed at violating the protections guaranteed in the Bill of Rights is acceptable.

      • ^ +1. The burden of proof in the USA is on the state for a reason. It’s effective but does not support the individual rights of a free people.

  5. Yep. It is effective and at the same time unconstitutional. So it’s a non starter. There is why an officer needs reasonable suspicion before they can begin to do anything. I’m not willing to sacrifice llany amount of liberty for security.

  6. Of course it can function as a deterrent; that it worked in New York but not in London just says there are different cultures at work. But whether it functions as a deterrent is irrelevant if it treats people as property of the state — i.e. subjects — which it does inevitably. Stop-and-frisk as a policy is not proper for a free people, which may explain why so many politicians are fond of it: it’s a clear and potent statement that the people are livestock, to be examined at will by the ranchers, which is how politicians prefer it — they want to be ranchers herding their cattle and sheep rather than public servants treating each and every citizen as their boss.

  7. Simple as this:

    “Those who would give up essential Liberty,

    to purchase a little temporary Safety,

    deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

  8. Listening to the two ‘experts’ again, what I see is a case of someone on the one hand who can see both forest and trees, and on the other someone who can’t grasp that there even is such a thing as a forest. The “well, it could stop one person” view is a fundamental argument for a police state, because it asks for more and more police power in hopes that at some point all the intrusive, oppressive apparatus will somehow stop maybe two people from doing wrong.

    The ultimate extension of stop-and-frisk is just make everyone go naked, so the police can search without having to make contact; they could just sit in little booths and zoom in on whomever they might wish.

  9. I have not, nor will I EVER consent to a search of any kind by a cop, if he should happen to have a warrant well then he doesn’t need my consent. I strongly advocate everyone in this country to do the same and the whole stop and frisk thing is moot.

  10. Stop and frisk is right at home in a totalitarian rigime. Probable cause should be the rule of law…not “he was a scary brown man” BS. Crime goes up? Prosecute the hell out of criminals…oh Britain is a lost cause. We’re not YET.

  11. Ultimately, both panelists want more government to solve what they perceive to be the source of the youth violence problem. There’s another choice missing from this discussion but reducing regulations and lowering the bar for market entry never makes an appearance in these debates.

  12. Stop and search is needed for a country full of people with no morals.

    But the solution shouldn’t be “stop and search”. The solution should be adequate parenting and family values.

  13. Don’t care if it works or not, the Libertarian in me can’t go along with any pre-emptive searches or surveillance without a warrant. Hell, I even oppose police speed traps as basically state monitoring without probable cause/warrant. Drug testing same same. When freedom truly dies in this country, it won’t be by one large swift stroke, but by incremental paper cuts like this tomfoolery.

    “The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.”-Brandeis

  14. Based on the current way of things i.e. gun rights are only allowed in certain states, some cities ignore federal law and some publicly funded institutions don’t protect free speech, sure with a caveat.

    Only in high crime areas. Neighborhoods where the majority of violence is happening. Most of our inner city crime is relegated to only a couple blocks. It should be based on appearance like tattoos, baggy pants, dirty clothes and hair styles. Not race, gender or religion.

    Or we could just enforce the constitution equally all over the country. But what’ev.

    • “…based on appearance like tattoos, baggy pants, dirty clothes and hair styles”?

      Thirty or forty years ago, a scruffy woman walked into a high end foreign car dealership in California. Only one of the salesmen was willing to talk to her. She bought an expensive car from him paying for it with cash she hauled out of a shopping bag. The woman was a famous rock star who could have bought the entire dealership, not just one automobile.

      I used to work in an engineering position for a transportation company. One evening, after a long day of performance testing, my colleagues and I were invited to dinner at a good restaurant as guests of the manufacturer’s representative. We were dressed in dirty tee shirts and jeans and reeked of diesel fuel. All the restaurant cared about was our host’s American Express card.

      • One of my best friend’s is covered in tats, complete sleeves, chest and back. His hair cut ranges from just very short to a tight mohawk. He spends almost all of his time in a T shirt and baggy shorts, or clothes otherwise more in line with what we generally refer to as “oil field trash”. He was formerly a mercenary in east Africa, and he still never stops looking around, always slightly paranoid. He has more than a bit of the “predator” vibe. The only thing that usually gives him away is that most swarthy criminals aren’t wearing a $20k watch.
        He’s worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

        • Has your friend had a memoir published yet? Mercenary to multi-millionaire sounds like one helluva story.

      • The musician Joe Walsh is a big ham radio buff.

        He once told the story of walking into an electronics store (naturally) looking like Joe Walsh usually looks.

        He asked to see a bunch of very expensive equipment and was treated with with a combination of skepticism and contempt.

        He pointed out his desired purchases and was asked condescendingly how he planned to pay for his purchase. He pulled out his wallet and went through a stack of credit cards greater in quantity than the number of times Joe Biden has said something lucid in the last fifty years. He chose one with a credit limit bigger than the combined annual drug expenditures of Charlie Sheen, Keith Richards, and Willie Nelson. Seeing the name “Joe Walsh” on the card, the counter people INSTANTLY changed their attitudes.

        • There are a *bunch* of radio buffs who are very unhappy with Joe Walsh.

          He’s been buying up a *lot* of vintage Collins S-line gear and the like and driving up the prices…

  15. They don’t have to frisk me; just go ahead and ask. Yes, I do have a gun and you can be sure that I probably have something that can poke you, stick you, or harm you in my pockets.

    • If what I have read is true (and I suspect that it is), the officer will demand that he remove from your person all such dangerous items “for officer safety.” I have seen and read stories of copies taking firearms from licensed carriers, taking the firearm to their squad (to illegally run the serial numbers), and when it is returned, it will have been unloaded and may have no ammunition. I have no idea where they get the idea that they can force you to disarm for their safety, but a refusal to comply may be met with extreme prejudice.

      Some recent federal appellate cases have brought the question into strong focus. It was the Fourth District, I think, where the court concluded that people who carry guns give up some of their constitutional right to be free from searches in the interest of public safety. I think the Ninth will likely follow when the issue comes up, even if there is a long history of firm adherence to the fifth amendment norms of Terry v, State of Ohio.

  16. Stop and search is clearly unconstitutional and therefore whether it is effective is pointless. Trump beats Hillary all to hell but when he is wrong, he is wrong.

  17. As an officer, I can tell you right now I have ZERO interest in doing stop and frisk or anything of the ilk. It is unconstitutional, harassment, and even from a PD perspective can lead to confrontations with citizens that quite frankly have no need to happen.

    If you are detained under Terry V Ohio? Sure, a pat down. But it better be legit reasonable suspicion.

    Freedom is what makes America great, theoretically at least. Sure, Stop and frisk or whatever would probably make the streets safer. But at what cost? Im not willing to give up freedom for safety.

    You will find indoctrinated officers that do not agree with me. But the majority of ones I work with are of similar mind to me.

    • “If you are detained under Terry V Ohio? Sure, a pat down. But it better be legit reasonable suspicion.”

      I get a ‘Terry’ stop-n-pat on average once-twice a year or so.

      The ‘reasonable suspicion’? I’m on a road bike, at zero-dark thirty hours (traffic much lower then, much less chance of getting hit) wearing jeans and a t-shirt, looking determined to get somewhere. The bike is as well-lit front and rear as some small cars.

      I’m asked if I have any weapons and I tell them I do. They get my ID and carry permit and hang onto whatever I’m currently carrying. Asked what I am doing, I tell them exercise and running errands. Asked why I’m armed, I tell them someone once thought it was funny to sic their dog on me while out riding. (I wish it weren’t, but that’s the truth.)

      I’ve never gotten the same cop. It’s a big county, lots of cops, and they rotate them continuously throughout the county.

      That’s usually the end of it. I’m on my way…

  18. Stop and frisk is a good idea only so long as the officer can articulate a reasonable suspicion that the person searched was in the process of committing a crime. For example, “The suspect repeatedly touched his clothing at the waistline just in front of his hip. That is common behavior for someone carrying a handgun in the appendix position without a holster. He must check frequently to make sure it isn’t about to fall out. Our search revealed an illegally carried handgun in that position.” That only one search in ten turned up something illegal shows they failed to meet the standard of reasonable, articulable suspicion. The difference between stop and frisk versus wire taps is that to get a wire tap, the officer must explain to a judge why he believes a crime is being committed and how the tap will reveal evidence of it. With stop and frisk, there is no judge to protect the public from ill considered searches.

  19. It is a very slippery slope when probable cause becomes “that guy looks suspicious. Lets chek him out” Unless there is a very good reason to search an individual there should be no reason they are searched. I believe there is something or other in the constiution about that. Just because an indiviual looks like the type that might cause trouble does not mean they ever have or will. I beleve that if there was another public policy that only worked 11 percent of the time it would probably be abandoned in favor of somehing more effective. When paranoid LEOs get an end around to individual rights its only a matter of time before we are all goose stepping in public marches

  20. Innocent until proven guilty in a court of law nullifies “stop and search”. Because police do not have probable cause, anything they find on you during an illegal stop and search cannot be used as evidence.

  21. Stop and frisk is the best deterrent to the serious crime of “walking while black,” and deserves the support of every skinhead and Nazi in America.

    • Can you tell me, Ralph, is there any legal authority allowing an officer to remove a person’s firearm(s) during a so-called investigatory stop? All I have ever heard is “in the interst of officer safety,” but what about mine?

  22. “Officer, I do not consent to any search and have nothing to say to you without benefit of counsel.”

    And I ALWAYS carry a recording device. And whenever I’m armed, it’s running.

    I trust the average cop as far as I can throw Amy Schumer and a water cooled Browning .50.

    • Why would you want to throw a perfectly good Fiddy? Trash like amy is supposed to be thrown. But for the love of the children, not the Fiddy.

  23. As someone far smarter than I once pointed out: Not every good idea is Constitutional and not every Constitutional idea is good.

    Is S&F effective. Probably, even if marginally so. Is it legal, moral, ethical or Constitutional? No, it’s abhorrent.

    It’s also not very logical. A place like NYC is effectively saying that they have a pre-crime unit. Carrying a “weapon” means that you’re going to use it against another person for no valid reason, therefore we must find you and stop you from doing this. That’s nonsense. Based on the estimates of legally possessed firearms in this country and the number of people that legally possess them while having no criminal intent whatsoever, it’s far more likely that you’ll stop and improperly arrest a good guy than you will stop a bad guy from committing some future crime.

  24. The media doesn’t understand the first thing about ‘Stop and Frisk.’ Obama sure didn’t. Most professors don’t (and, amazingly, some judges!). Honestly, I don’t think Trump knows what it means either. Each side uses it as a political football.

    Stop and frisk, better called a “Terry stop” is not that complicated:
    1) A cop can temporarily detain someone based on reasonable articulated suspicion that the person is involved in criminal activity. This is a set of facts and observations and not ‘just a hunch.’ For example, if a cop sees someone walking towards a bank wearing a ski mask in July with a heavy coat, hand clutching something in a backpack and a nervous demeanor, he doesn’t have to let the guy pull out the gun before detaining him. The cop can then attempt to investigate the crime and keep the person detained for a reasonable amount of time but can not ‘arrest’ them (i.e. lock em up and transport them somewhere else) without more evidence.

    2) IF the cop also has that level of suspicion that the person is carrying a weapon and is dangerous he or she can ‘frisk’ (not search) their outer garments for that weapon.

    You can have 1 without 2. Now, are there some places where cops have gotten away with stopping and (especially) frisking people based on chickenshit evidence? Yeah, usually the high crime places where everyone is begging for the cops to clear the corners (i.e. get the pushers and gangbangers off the street corners and away from kids). But that shouldn’t be mistaken for the general legal principle.

    • In NYC it peaked at 600,000 stops a year with 90 percent totally innocent, and many of the rest not guilty of whatever they were supposedly stopped for

      That’s in a city of what, 6 million men? One in ten chance of being stopped by the cops a year for no actual reason and searched. More accurately if you are black a good chance you are stopped and searched every year for no valid reason

      https://www.nyclu.org/en/stop-and-frisk-data

      • Looked it up and the city had 4 million males of all ages and peaked at almost 700k stops in a year. Half the stops or 350’k are on mmen in ages 14-24 or so, which is less than 20 percent. So 800k guys getting 350k stops a year. Lots of guys getting stopped multiple times a year for no reason, and searched in what is supposed to be America

        Guliani time is fascist time

        • Half the stops were of the demographic that commits 60% of crimes.

          Still un-Constitutional to my mind, but Giuliani is not a fascist, Trump is not “literally Hitler,” and you libs sound now like Alex Jones has sounded for the last eight years – absofuckinglutely bat shit crazy.

  25. Still unconstitutional in your thinking even though they are black and Hispanic? Very generous

    I haven’t spent 8 minutes or 8 years listening to Alex jones and don’t know what he says or thinks. And I never mentioned Trump or Hitler

    But I do think if Obama had sent federals to grab and spreadeagle and frisk a million Texans a year there would be a revolution and people would call it all kinds of things

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