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Showing posts from August, 2012

San Francisco Mayor Lee’s Stop-and-Frisk Policy: A Legal & Statistical Review

Mayor Lee has remained firm in his initiative to implement a Stop-and-Frisk policy in San Francisco as a means of gun control, particularly in the wake of the movie theater mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado. The policy, which already exists in New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago, has sparked major debates, as some point to it as a prime example of racial profiling.

The Supreme Court of the United States held in Terry v. Ohio that police may briefly detain a person if they have reasonable suspicion that the person is, or is about to be engaged in criminal activity. When police additionally have reasonable suspicion that the person may be armed, they may "frisk" them for weapons; this includes a limited search of the suspect’s outer garments for weapons, but not for contraband, like drugs. This is known as a “stop and frisk.” If the officer uncovers further evidence during the frisk, the stop may lead to an arrest, but if no further evidence is found, the person is releas…