Philadelphia, NY Had Different Reactions to Criticism of Police Stop-and-Frisks


The New York Times compares New York’s response to criticism of police stop-and-frisk tactics to that of Philadelphia. A year after Philadelphia officials settled litigation by agreeing to institute a host of safeguards to make sure police stops were conducted legally, they say they are simply doing what is needed to make sure that aggressive crime fighting is accompanied by a respect for civil rights. As part of the agreement, the police department has set up an electronic database to track the legality of stops, adopted new training protocols and accepted oversight by an independent monitor.

Philadelphia's willingness to put police procedures under the microscope has won praise even from the civil rights lawyers who in 2010 filed a class-action lawsuit, accusing police officers of disproportionately stopping African-American and Hispanic men without sufficient cause. “The city agreed almost immediately after we filed suit to come to the table and discuss an amicable resolution,” said Paul Messing, one of the lawyers, adding that he thought Mayor Michael A. Nutter and other officials “understood that this presented serious constitutional concerns.”

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