A Close Look At Newark’s Stop-And-Frisk–“Similar To Being Robbed”


NPR interviews writer Daniel Bergner of The Atlantic, who reported on Newark police “field inquiries,” the city’s version of stop-and frisk. He watched two policemen at work, stopping anyone they deemed suspicious-looking, asking for ID, peppering them with questions, frisking them, running warrant checks, etc.–all of the very same things that the New York department has done so often and that has engendered so much controversy. Bergner wanted to get an up-close look at what this looked like through the police’s eyes, and then, of course, also spent lots of time with people in the community looking at it from their perspective as well.

Newark high school principal Gemar Mills tells NPR that “to be stopped and frisked and then to know that you technically didn’t do anything, it puts you in this space as if you’ve been violated. So similar to being robbed … you feel a sense of low self-esteem or you feel like helplessness. … In a stop-and-frisk, it’s the same situation because here you have a law and then there’s other constitutional rights, and the law is allowing someone to pretty much supersede those rights. And then if nothing is found or there’s no warrants, then it’s kind of like, OK, we apologize. Have a good day.” Bergner recommends training police to be a lot more careful about their standards for who they’re identifying as possible criminals and to deal with whoever they’re stopping with respect.

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