Guide to Stop-and-Frisk

We’ve blogged here before about the issue of racial discrimination in the stop-and-frisk policing practice in New York City. There is lots of data that shows stop-and-frisk is discriminatory, harmful to communities and is not effective at “getting guns off the streets,” as is frequently claimed by advocates of the policing strategy. And, it’s very likely unconstitutional.


protestors hold sign saying "stop stop + frisk"

(Image source)

Bill diBlasio, the newly elected mayor of New York City, has promised to end stop-and-frisk and that means there is a new future ahead for the city and the communities most affected by this policy.

In an effort to assess where we are with stop-and-frisk, what the data shows, and how scholars, activists and journalists have worked to change this policy, JustPublics@365, a project of the Ford Foundation based at the CUNY-Graduate Center (and that I lead), recently curated a series on this topic.  And now, that series has been compiled as an all-in-one guide to stop-and-frisk (pdf)

The Information Guide is structured around three levels of social justice outcomes:

  • Make Your Issues Their Interest: Raising Awareness About An Issue with an Audience
  • Make Your Issue Their Issue: Getting an Audience More Deeply Engaged in An Issue
  • Make Your Issue Their Action: Moving an Audience Towards a Specific Action

If you are teaching a class or training people in your organization, you can also use this Information Guide as a tool for teaching and learning about stop-and-frisk.

You can download the guide(pdf) and reuse it for teaching, research, activism or media.


  1. Seattle in Texas

    The stop and frisk law needs reform and it sounds as though the new mayor in New York is dedicated to fighting these racist policies. Hopefully change in positive directions do take place.

    Seemingly positive changes have been taking place in Washington State as well, such as with the legalization of gay marriage, euthanasia/death with dignity, etc. laws and policies. It even legalized marijuana. Much to celebrate…or not. Perhaps much to be afraid of in terms of the government abusing fundamental rights to privacy all people should be inherently entitled to in the name of detecting TCH in the blood while driving: .

    Prior to leaving Washington State several years back cops did not run blood tests on drivers–at least that we were aware of or heard of. Perhaps in the case of accidents, etc. or people on probation or parole, etc., but those were usually UA’s. Though some say WA State was running blood tests on drivers to detect TCH and other substances prior to the legalization.

    Prior to the legalization of marijuana, pot was the lowest priority for law enforcement: .

    After legalization, it is the case that you have to be 21 years or older to smoke and if you do, even if you have the medical card, etc., you can’t drive for 30 days. This is fine if you live in the city with a good transit system, etc. But I have yet to meet anybody who has ever sat down and smoked pot for one sitting and stayed stoned for 30 days straight. It’s fair to say that people who smoke pot on a daily basis probably are stoned for some period of time on a daily basis, etc.

    But on driving while THC is still in the system–not while stoned necessarily but just THC in the system, Washington State has found several more cases since marijuana was legalized, though: It doesn’t necessarily mean there has been a rash of people driving high, said patrol spokesman Bob Calkins. Troopers are looking harder for drivers operating under the influence of pot, and they might be ordering more marijuana blood tests — “We’re testing blood we didn’t test before,” .

    Whose going to be ordered to have their blood drawn more often than who while driving in the State of Washington? It seems if it’s the case blood was not drawn specifically to see if there is any THC in the system prior to the passage of this law and only breath tests were done as a standard procedure, etc., than there are some very sinister forces at work in WA that are serving to grossly violate rights to privacy and those that are supposed to be protected by the constitution–go way beyond the boundaries. It is even the case if the blood tests were ordered prior to the legalization…but is there a threshold of any kind on how far the government can intrude on people’s rights to privacy just based on mere suspicion? (often racist and classist in nature) be it the stop and frisk or blood tests?

    Is it worth it to legalize if that means the law can run your blood with nothing more than suspicion and if you refuse, then you’re pleading guilty, etc.? The fears people have of this plant–irrational. It seems the legalization actually serves the potential to actually create more criminal records and problems than before when it was illegal, while allowing the legalized distributes to bank off the profits… Anyway….

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