Randolph Stone's Tribune Op-Ed on the Collateral Consequences of Stop-and-Frisk

Collateral consequences of stop-and-frisk

Responding to concerns about gun violence in her South Side neighborhood, Chicago Treasurer Stephanie D. Neely recently called in a Tribune op-ed for the Chicago Police Department to adopt a "proactive and courageous" strategy known as "stop-and-frisk." Neely compared people randomly being stopped and searched on the city's streets to passengers going through airport security. That comparison is not fair.

Airport security is designed for a very narrow purpose, to protect individuals in the confined space of an airplane. At the same time, one has an option as to whether to undergo that security check. For example, the traveler can simply elect another mode of transportation. Extending stop-and-frisk searches — a forced search with no option to evade the pat-down — to our neighborhoods and streets simply is not comparable.

Stop-and-frisk policies in other cities are a lightning rod for controversy, largely because the searches occur on the street, without management oversight and often at the discretion of a single officer. This vague standard often leads to racial disparities and other questions about the stops.

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