Is It Worth the Frisk?

This week, a U.S. District Judge ruled that New York’s policy of patting down suspected ne’er do wells known as “Stop and Frisk” was unconstitutional. Stop and Frisk will be allowed to continue, though Judge Shira Scheindlin had ordered that an independent monitoring agency oversee changes in the NYPD related to the policy.

Some of the things the as-yet-to-be-determined agency might find interesting include the following:

  • Last year, 87% of the people stopped under stop and frisk were Black or Latino–groups that make up less than 50% of NYC’s population.

  • Only about 1.9% of Stops and Frisks lead to police finding guns. Police were almost twice as likely to find guns on whites than minorities.

  • NYPD officers stopped young black men 168,000 times. Only 158,000 young black men live in NYC

  • Only about 6% of Stops and Frisks lead to arrests

In addition to the numbers on the page, there was also this video where a young man was stopped and frisked twice in just a few blocks. When he tried to point this out to the officers, they didn’t take it too well.

New York City Mayor Bloomberg plans to appeal the ruling. He has also said in the past that the best way to deal with Stop and Frisks is to be “cooperative” and to accept the policy as a part of urban life.

You might read the above and think it’s unfair. It might sound like a law enforcement tactic really went off the rails.  It might sound like people are being profiled and rights are being violated.

Even if all of that is true, don’t be sad. Be ready.

Here are three things you can do to make sure that your Stop and Frisk experience is as painless as possible.

1. Always wear cashmere. Just like a real lady is never under-dressed  neither should an of color be in New York City. Class it up by investing in a variety of high quality cashmere satin shirts, pants, jackets, dresses, rain coats, corsets, vests, turtlenecks, socks, and shoes and you’ll be ready when a cop starts patting you down. The officer will be so distracted by the glorious texture and your excellent taste that they won’t even notice that gun you’re not carrying. In a pinch, velveteen will do.

2. Stay Moisturized. By keeping your skin moist, smooth and supple, those rough cop hands will slide right over your trembling body, no matter how much you struggle to hide that handful of 57 Splenda packets you took from Hugo’s. Sure they’re not illegal, but it is an embarrassing stash.

3. Be Flexible. Not just with your opinions on social justice, but with your actual body. They’re going to get all up in there, so don’t fight. Let ‘em get all up in there. You never know what they’re going to not find, so practice holding that grand battement and let them have a good ol’ fashioned look around.

Have you been stopped or frisked? What do you think of the ruling? Let us know in the comments!

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8 comments

  1. As someone who has been stopped and or frisked frequently in life I have found that the best way to go through it is to make it as difficult as possible. I usually spend at least 20 mins talking and asking questions… then I haggle over the location of the frisk. I often suggest we move to a less public setting. I also ask for names of all the officers involved and start calling them by their names… It’s easy for them to hide behind the uniform and title of ‘officer’ but it is interesting to see the look on their face when I ask “Must we really go through all this Larry?” I also refuse to give my name and if they insist I tell them “Olatokunbo Betiku” since that is my name…. it’s what is printed on my license, plus I enjoy watching them try to wrap their head around the name Olatokunbo Betiku… and no I don’t repeat it… they get it all at once.

  2. 25+29 is 54%, so blacks and latinos make up just over half New York. I’ll take a wild guess at considerably more than that in the less affluent, high crime areas where cops stop people more often

  3. I’ve been stopped and the last time they stopped me I asked why and they said I fit the description, I asked what the description was they said “A Black Male”

  4. Simple….never mouth off to the man. I grew up where the cops and thugs were viewed with equal fear. Be polite and humble, shuffle and grin a lot- sho nuff! You wanna be a wise ass and they find your stash than go ahead and run your mouth. It is a basic life lesson, do not make yourself a target, blend in and keep your inner autonomy otherwise you’ll end up in a cell block with some
    orangutan named Amin Yerbouti who thinks you have “purty lips”.

  5. I would also add a vintage tweed sports coat, Volcom Frickin Modern Chino Slacks and Salvatore Ferragamo Corrado Loafers to those brilliant ideas of yours your Oreoness…

  6. Wear cashmere, stay moisturized, be flexible… hmmm… after they arrest me, this will make me the most popular guy at the holding center. I’ve been stopped and frisked numerous times. In my younger years, I was once stopped and frisked while my supposed accomplice was handcuffed in the back seat. They finally let me go when word came over the radio that the suspect was about 6’2″, and I’m 5’8″.

    They need to get rid of that ruling. Statistics do not measure the mental toll that fear of profiling-based harassment.causes. Even worse are the long-term scars of being harassed. Depending on the mood of the officers, you can be as compliant as possible.and still .be detained, or you can ask questions and be arrested as a public nuisance. Having your existence be considered suspect behavior is demoralizing.

  7. So my dear, now that you have had a couple of weeks to put this advice to work; how do you react when the police ask you, you seem to be packing a pair of 38s, are you also carrying a gun? On a serious note, its the wrong approach to look at race demographic statistics. The crime statistics are what should be looked at. Look at those trends, who are the victims, who are the criminals, then you know how best to use the resources of the police.

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