Essay 2 Terry v. Ohio

1 Ava Motley Greg Sakall LAW 389 28 April 2023 Essay 2: Terry v. Ohio In the widely discussed Terry v. Ohio ruling, the Supreme Court of the United States reaffirmed the constitutionality of police stops and frisks, frequently referred to as "stop and frisk." This topic has been widely controversial given that it directly connects to police brutality in the United States. A Terry stop, often known as stop and frisk, is a police technique that enables officers to briefly hold and search someone they suspect of being involved in criminal activity. Police officers are permitted to temporarily hold and search someone for firearms if they have a reasonable suspicion that they are involved in criminal activity, according to a 1968 Supreme Court decision in the case of Terry v. Ohio, which established the practice. Police agencies all around the United States have utilized stop and frisk often in the years after the Terry ruling, particularly in major metropolitan areas such as New York. On the other hand, the practice has drawn criticism, with those opposed claiming that it unfairly targets people of color and infringes on their civil rights. The subject has been at the center of national discussions about policing and racial justice in recent years as a result of a number of high-profile court cases and public debates. Although people may argue that "stopping and frisking" is an important police tactic to keep communities safe, it disproportionately affects black and brown individuals with very little evidence to prove they are guilty.
2 Martin McFadden, a Cleveland police officer, saw John W. Terry and Richard Chilton pacing back and forth in front of a business, perhaps checking the place out. When McFadden approached two men and announced himself as a police officer, Terry was searched, and a firearm was discovered. After that, Terry was accused of carrying an unregistered gun, but his defense claimed that the search was illegal because it infringed against his Fourth Amendment protections against unjustified searches and seizures. In the end, the Supreme Court ruled in the police officer's favor, holding that even though the Fourth Amendment calls for a warrant for a thorough search, police officers are permitted to briefly arrest and pat down people if they have a reasonable suspicion that they are engaged in criminal activity and may be a present threat. The Court claimed that a search of this kind strikes an appropriate balance between the person's right to privacy and the need to protect the public from crime and injury. There are many reasons why people may oppose the ruling in this case. Individuals who disagree argue that it affects racial profiling, civil liberties, and it is overall ineffective. The stop-and-frisk system is not an effective police tactic and needs to be reformed or abolished in its entirety. These tactics have been proven to be ineffective by statistics in many urban cities across the United States. In the early 2000s, the stop-and-frisk program of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) drew heavy criticism for being both ineffectual and prejudiced. At its height, the strategy resulted in over 500,000 stops annually, with Black and Latino people making up the great majority of those stopped. The strategy was ultimately declared unlawful by a federal judge in 2013 despite the fact that it resulted in a large number of stops but did not dramatically lower crime rates. This unfortunately was also present in cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, and Ferguson. Over 200,000 stops resulted in the first year of the Philadelphia
3 Police Department's stop and frisk policy, which went into effect in 2011. Fortunately, a careful review of the policy revealed that the majority of those stopped were not armed or involved in criminal activity and that only a tiny percentage of those stops resulted in arrests. After the shooting of Michael Brown in 2014, the Department of Justice report found that the Ferguson Police Department's use of stop and frisk was both unsuccessful and prejudiced. According to the research, stops disproportionately targeted Black people and the great majority of them did not lead to either arrests or the recovery of contraband. Therefore, the efficiency of this harmful police tactic has seen little to no progress and has had more repercussions against individuals and their civil liberties. Another important example of the inefficiency of the "stop-and-frisk" tactic is that of the Newark Police Department. According to the Frontline documentary "Policing the Police", It is evident that police were stopping mainly Black individuals on the street. The "stop-and-frisk" tactic has escalated from a police officer finding an individual suspicious to stopping individuals who show absolutely no threat. The documentary depicts a scene where the drug enforcement unit of the Newark Police Department randomly stops a black man walking down the street. They end up pinning the individual on the ground causing him much distress. The Newark Police Department received so many civilian complaints, that the Department of Justice enforced a consent decree in 2010. The unit displayed in the documentary was shut down for its unethical force. Based on the report made by the Department of Justice, it was found that the Newark Police Department was stopping people without legal justification 75% of the time. (Frontline). It is evident that this is not a sufficient police tactic, however, I understand why there needs to be excessive reform of the system rather than overall abolishment.
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