Critic Defends “Stop and Frisk,” Says NY Times Wrong on Racial Issues


Heather Mac Donald, writing in the National Review, criticizes the New York Times for portraying the city’s police officers “as the greatest threat facing minorities today. Minority criminals are out of sight, out of mind.” Mac Donald contends that Times “editorialists, columnists, and reporters have been relentlessly pushing the idea that the New York Police Department oppresses minority males with its stop-and-frisk policy.” She says that police last year “killed eight people, all of them threatening the officers' lives with guns and other lethal weapons, in the course of 900,000 arrests and summonses and 23 million contacts with the public.”

By contrast, she says, civilians killed 515 people, 463 of them black or Hispanic. Virtually all of the 463 minority victims were felled by other blacks and Hispanics. The eight lethal police shootings occurred because the officers involved were trying to protect the public. Mac Donald writes that, “just because a stop did not net a gun or result in an arrest or summons does not mean that it was unconstitutional, or that the person stopped was not engaged in or preparing for a crime. (About 12 percent of stops result in arrests or summonses.) The behavior of someone who is casing a victim or burglary location may lawfully trigger a stop without his having evidence on his person to justify an arrest. Nevertheless, that stop may well deter a crime by signaling to its would-be perpetrator that he is being watched.”

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