ACLU and Other Groups Challenging Stop and Frisk Laws

A November 4 Washington Post article highlights challenges that are being posed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other groups to the “stop and frisk” policies of Philadelphia and New York City.

A civil liberties group filed a federal lawsuit Thursday challenging the use of “stop and frisk” searches by Philadelphia police, alleging that the policy is violating the rights of blacks and Latinos who have done nothing wrong.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed the lawsuit on behalf of eight men – including a state lawmaker – it says were subjected to illegal searches since the city started using “stop and frisk.” The searches have been a controversial element of Mayor Michael Nutter’s first term.

In the lawsuit, the ACLU cites city data showing that 253,333 pedestrians were stopped last year, compared with 102,319 in 2005. More than 70 percent of the people stopped last year were black and only 8.4 percent of all stops led to an arrest, the ACLU said. …

In New York, civil rights advocates have also challenged the use of stop and frisk; a lawsuit filed against the New York Police Department by the Center for Constitutional Rights is pending.

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