11/21/2019

Michael Bloomberg and the stop-and-frisk about-face

"Bloomberg is right to apologize, however suspect his sincerity, but for reasons very different than the ubiquitous assertions about the racist nature of stop-and-frisk. Stop-and-frisk is not “racist” because it is wholly appropriate for policing to allocate disproportionate resources — manpower, administrative attention, etc. — to geographic areas in which serious crime is disproportionately high. Suppose it was white neighborhoods in which both crime, police presence, and arrests were high. Would that demonstrate anti-white bias?

No, stop-and-frisk was and remains a deeply problematic practice for reasons much more fundamental, a reality with respect to which such supporters of ever-more powerful government as Bloomberg are eternally blind. It is the 4th amendment issue that Bloomberg and former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and Manhattan Institute scholar Heather MacDonald refuse to address. Are we to accept the premise that stop-and-frisk is justified merely because it reduces crime substantially? If so, why not ignore the requirement for search warrants? Is it acceptable under the constitution for the cops to frisk someone merely because of a possibility that they might have a gun? Precisely how can the requirement for probable cause, or even only a reasonable suspicion, be made consistent with this?"