by Walter E. Williams
Before former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg threw his hat into the 2020 presidential race, he defended the New York Police Department’s use of “stop, question and frisk” policing. At a United States Naval Academy’s 2019 Leadership Conference, Bloomberg said, “We focused on keeping kids from going through the correctional system … kids who walked around looking like they might have a gun, remove the gun from their pockets and stop it.” He claimed that as a result of his policy, New York’s murder rate fell from 650 a year to 300 the year he left office.
In the cases of Terry v. Ohio, Sibron v. New York, and Peters v. New York, the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1968, granted limited approval to officers to stop, question and frisk, even though they lacked probable cause for an arrest, if the officer believed the subject to be dangerous. The Court’s decision made suspicion of danger to an officer grounds for a “reasonable search.”