Four years ago this week, federal court Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that the way New York police officers were stopping and frisking individuals amounted to racial discrimination, and was hence unconstitutional. Speaking before the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement [NOBLE] earlier this month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave what sounded like an endorsement of the exact policing practice Scheindlin (who’s since retired) counseled against.
“We absolutely must not abandon proven, constitutional techniques and procedures,” said Sessions at the NOBLE conference. “We don’t need to be telling police not to do their job in those communities.”
But it was Sessions’ conclusion about these practices that most echoed the rhetoric of stop-and-frisk’s heydey: "We cannot let the politicians, as they sometimes do, run down police and communities that are suffering only to see crime spike in those communities.”
Donald Trump also boldly invoked stop-and-frisk by name during his campaign and as president as a solid violent crime reduction strategy. In New York City, stop-and-frisk has been scaled back considerably since Judge Scheindlin forced the NYPD to change its police practices four years ago. There has been no corresponding upsurge in violent crime; in fact, there’s been a decrease in violent crime.