Last April, the new mayor of Philadelphia promised to end stop and frisk if he was elected. However, just weeks after being elected and after a transition report was released that recommended reforming stop and frisk instead of abolishing it, the Mayor Kenney announced that pedestrians would continue to be subject to stop and frisk in Philadelphia. He noted that stop and frisk would be applied less aggressively and more constitutionally than it was under the previous administration. The new mayor made a statement in mid-February saying his position on stop and frisk has not changed and that he would be “building upon and continuing to strengthen” the Philadelphia Police Department’s (PPD) attempts to make sure that stop and frisk is applied to pedestrians as constitutionally and fairly as possible “across demographic groups.”
In 2008 as the murder rate in the city grew steadily, the former mayor and former police commissioner of Philadelphia declared a crime emergency and acknowledged the use of stop and frisk as a tactic that they believed would make an immediate difference. Soon thereafter, violent crime began to drop steadily, but the amount of African American men stopped on the street doubled and in most cases did not result in an arrest. As a result, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the PPD and the city of Philadelphia in federal court, accusing the department of having a “history of racially biased policing.” The case was settled in 2011 by the city.
In Terry v. Ohio, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a police officer may legally stop a pedestrian as long as there is a “reasonable suspicion” of illegal activity. Once the pedestrian is stopped, the police officer may frisk the person if there is reasonable suspicion that the person is armed and dangerous. In 2014, the ACLU found that 39 percent of stops in Philadelphia occurred without reasonable suspicion. According to the current Philadelphia police commissioner, the PPD requires police officers to follow certain protocols when performing a stop and frisk. They must write down certain information about the stop and/or frisk, file a report explaining their reasoning, and have a supervisor and captain read their report. The reports are also subject to random audit by division inspectors and each report must be sent to the ACLU for further scrutiny as part of the 2011 settlement between the parties. The commissioner went on to say that because of the Court’s opinion in Terry v. Ohio, no city would be able to legally abolish stop and frisk, but rather would have to decide to have a “precipitous drop.”
Philadelphia Police Misconduct Lawyers at the Law Offices of Patrick G. Geckle, LLC Help Victims of Stop and Frisk and Police Brutality Receive Justice and Compensation
If you, a loved one or someone you know has been a victim of an erroneous stop and frisk, call our team of seasoned and knowledgeable Philadelphia police misconduct lawyers at the Law Offices of Patrick G. Geckle, LLC. We represent victims of stop and frisk and police misconduct throughout Philadelphia County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Bucks County and Chester County. Call us at 215-735-3326 to go over the facts of your case or contact us online.