Chicago Police Outpace New York’s “Stop and Frisk” Record

(Photo by Daniel Schwen)

Chicago police have a new “stop and frisk” record. Just a few weeks after President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing offered a list of 59 recommendations aimed at building community trust in police departments across the U.S., a new ACLU report notes that Chicago police officers are among the nation’s leaders in the use of the controversial tactic.

From ACLU’s the main findings:

(Credit: ACLU Illinois)

Although officers are required to write down the reason for stops, in nearly half of the stops we reviewed, officers either gave an unlawful reason for the stop or failed to provide enough information to justify the stop.

Stop and frisk is disproportionately concentrated in the black community. Black Chicagoans were subjected to 72% of all stops, yet constitute just 32% of the city’s population. And, even in majority white police districts, minorities were stopped disproportionately to the number of minority people living in those districts.

According to the report, there were more than 250,000 stops that did not lead to an arrest in Chicago last summer — a number the ACLU calls “shocking,” noting that “Chicagoans were stopped more than four times as often as New Yorkers at the height of New York City’s stop-and-frisk practice.”

“While most of the media coverage has suggested that the stop-and-frisk was a New York phenomena, its use is not limited to New York,” Harvey Grossman, the ACLU’s legal director, said in a statement. “And just like New York, we see that African-Americans are singled out for these searches.”

The ACLU suggests that better officer training and increased transparency are in order for the department.

Jenn Stanley is a freelance journalist, essayist and independent producer living in Chicago. She has an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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