Do we want freedom or a false sense of security?
Yep, yep, it’s your girl, POC, back for another edition of Mad or Nah. Stop and Frisk in Philadelphia was so problematic that in 2010, the city was sued in federal court and later entered into a consent decree with ACLU of Pennsylvania. Over time that agreement has seen the number of baseless and illegal stops significantly declined, but racial disparities persist. Black people make up roughly 70% of illegal stops, despite only accounting for 44% of the city’s population.
Many studies show that Stop and Frisk methods have almost zero affect on the number of firearms on our streets – only 1% of stops result in the seizure of a weapon. Yet, as Philadelphia continues to deal with a frightful gun violence crisis, some city officials this summer floated the idea of revisiting this controversial police tactic. So I hit the streets to ask residents: Does the idea of revamping up Stop and Frisk make you Mad or Nah.
Neighbors sound off! NOTE: Some speakers provide their names & neighborhoods, some don’t. Check out their voices in the original recorded interviews (above), transcribed here:
- I’m not exactly a fan of it. I don’t know what the specific ins and outs are of like the law like exactly what is allowed, while they’re doing stop and frisk versus what is currently allowed. But I don’t think it’s okay. And I think it’s very biased against black people and people of color. And that’s not okay. But I think sitting down, maybe having more community forums where local police actually sit down and listen and have regular discourse with people on what the community thinks that they need to help because it might be different in certain neighborhoods. – University City (near Clark Park)
- I think they should seriously consider the negative consequences that could spill out from it. I would recommend not doing it. I understand we do have a serious gun problem. But it gives rogue cops too much opportunity to take advantage of the ability to just stop any Black man you see, and frisk him arbitrarily. — West Philly
- Yes, I think that that law shouldn’t be reversed at all, that’s going to bring up a lot of bad energy within the city. A lot of bad mishaps are gonna happen, up next in the coming future. Mark my words. — Southwest Philly
- There’s no way to do it where it’s unbiased. I think you could say theoretically “Oh, you could do it” because you’re just trying to better the community. But every time you implement it, it becomes inherently biased and a means to just be racist, essentially. For cops, it just gives them a reason to go around and be racist. – Rittenhouse
- No. I think they should search guys who may have a gun. I think that’s the proper way of doing things. If they look like they’re hanging on the corner and suspicious. Stop them. I don’t say stop everybody just walking down the street. But if they look suspicious, stop them. – Nicetown
- So it kind of makes me mad if it’s designed with racist intent. “This dude just ran across the street. We saw him with a rifle” — that’s enough to go on, you know, like actual suspicion, not just “Oh, this person’s Black or Hispanic.” Like it’s always been used for. But if it was actually where it was like, “No, we got a suspicious tip from people about that group of people there.” You know what I’m saying? Like, it can’t just be, “I’m gonna go stop this dude because personally as me as a cop, it’s suspicious.” But if it was like, the public is suspicious at that point — they’re fulfilling their oath to like, keep the public safe if people call with concern. – Center City
- It’s better to be safe. And if you feel as though someone’s going to endanger someone else or yourself, it’s better to know, but you have to do it properly. You can’t rough people up. It’s a way of doing it. You do it properly, then it’s okay. And if you don’t, then I don’t like that. – Nicetown
- I guess a little bit because it feels like they’re trying to infringe on a fourth amendment right, the freedom against unreasonable searches and seizures, since they need probable cause. – Phila resident
How ‘Bout You?
Mad or Nah is an original woman-on-the-street interview series from REVIVE Radio that asks Philadelphians about issues impacting their everyday life. This edition originally aired August 3, 2022 on WHYY.com and on 90.9FM.
Tamara Russell aka Proof of Consciousness aka P.O.C. hosts and produces a variety of award-winning shows featured on Uptown Radio 98.5FM and Philly’s WHYY/NPR/PBS outlets. Read more in our feature on this multi-talented motivator — and The Local’s new publisher! — here: New Attitude (March 2022).