2012 June 17

Silent Marches Protest Police “Stop and Frisk” Policies


Civil rights leaders organized a series of silent marches across the country to protest the police practice of “stops and frisks,” which they argued targeted young African-American men. The silent marches were modeled after the famous Silent March Against Lynching in New York City, on July 28, 1917, sponsored by the NAACP.

The stop-and-frisk controversy was especially acute in New York City, where the practices of the New York City Police Department were the subject of several legal challenges. On August 12, 2013, a District Court judge declared that the New York City police department’s stop and frisk practices were unconstitutional, in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.

The Supreme Court established the law of stops and frisks in the case of Terry v. Ohio (June 10, 1968). Under that decision, a “stop, which is a temporary detention,” is justified only when an officer has “reasonable suspicion” that the person is committing or is about to commit a crime. The judge ordered a sweeping set of reforms for the NYPD, including a new stop-and-frisk report form and improved procedures for the review of officers’ conduct in stop and frisk situations.

Learn more about the 2012 Silent March: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgSuYi0aYuA

Learn more about the New York City “stop and frisk” case: http://ccrjustice.org/Floyd

Read: Stephen Schulhofer, More Essential Than Ever: The Fourth Amendment in the Twenty-First Century (2012)

Learn more about police accountability: Samuel Walker and Carol Archbold, The New World of Police Accountability, 2nd ed. (2014)

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