Philadelphia Stop-and-Frisks Down, Critics Call 45% of Them Unreasonable


The number of pedestrians stopped by Philadelphia police under the city’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy has dropped by 15 percent, but an analysis by civil-rights groups contends that many stops are still made without “reasonable suspicion,” reports the Philadelphia Daily News. The American Civil Liberties Union and the law firm Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing & Feinberg told a federal court the number of stops had decreased from 253,000 in 2009 to 215,000 in 2012 but that 45 percent of the stops were unreasonable searches and seizures. A 2101 class-action lawsuit over stop-and-frisk charged that minorities were targeted and that stops often mare ade without probable cause or reasonable suspicion. A settlement was reached in 2011, and the city agreed to procedural changes, including a review of training, distribution of information on investigatory stops, and the creation of a database with stop reports. Attorney Paul Messing said that although the report presented some good news, the bad news is “we have persistently high rates of bad stops.” Reasons for stops included loitering and sitting on the steps of an abandoned property. Five percent of stops led to arrests, and less than 1 percent yielded guns or other weapons.

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