DO NOT PUBLISH: Stop and Frisk policies divide politicians, students

Nicholas Hunter

The Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has spent much of this election cycle focusing on American safety, both domestic and foreign. One of his biggest and most polarizing proposals is his wish to expand the stop-and-frisk method of finding and arresting potential criminals.

The concept of stop-and-frisk originates from the 1967 Terry vs. Ohio case, where the United States Supreme Court ruled if a police officer could provide “reasonable suspicion” of a crime, they were legally allowed to stop and search that person, according to Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute.

A former Kent State student, Jabril Uzumaki, had a firsthand experience with this procedure.

On April 2nd, 2014, a man accidentally shot himself in the foot on-campus, and the police released a statement saying they were looking for a black man, wearing a hoodie and shorts. Uzumaki fit this vague description as he headed to his girlfriend’s house after playing basketball at the Recreation and Wellness Center.

When police stopped Uzumaki near Tri-Towers, three officers formed what he called “a triangle shape” around him, at least one officer with a gun pointed at him. One of the officers ordered him to drop his book bag. The officer opened up the main pocket of his book bag to find it, despite him telling her it could be found in the smaller pocket. She dumped his books and computer on the ground before searching where he said it was.

As she ran his ID and checked his information, another officer was called over to frisk him.

When the officer approached him, Uzumaki said the officer did not give him instructions, and instead said to him “‘You know the routine.’” But he said he did not know the routine; he had never been in this situation before.

The officer then gave him instructions and frisked him, and questioned him about an item in his pocket, which turned out to be his hair pick. “I’m pretty sure you can tell the difference between a pick and a comb,” said Uzumaki.

This instance of an innocent person being stopped by police under stop-and-frisk law is not uncommon. In fact, the New York Police Department found that nearly nine out of ten stop-and-frisked New Yorkers were completely innocent, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Numbers also show that showed black and latino people were stopped disproportionately more than white people. Similar statistics are found when looking at most major U.S. cities.

In 2013, the New York Supreme Court found that the way the New York Police department performed stop-and-frisking was unconstitutional, leading to a large drop in use of the procedure.

Despite these statistics and rulings, Trump said at a rally in Florida on Tuesday that stop-and-frisk expansion would “save thousands of lives,” and that “overwhelmingly, this will save African-American and Hispanic lives.”

When asked about his feelings on Trump wanting to expand stop-and-frisking, Uzumaki said he is opposed to the procedure as a whole, no matter what race the suspect is.

“If you’re not used to being put into situations like that, it’s going to make you act hostile,” he said.