Rise of ‘stop-and-frisk’ searches noted in major U.S. cities

NEW YORK (AP) — Police statistics gathered by The Associated Press show a sharp increase in the number of people stopped and questioned by officers each year.

Police in major U.S. cities have stopped more than a million people in recent years, most of whom are black and Hispanic men. Many are frisked and nearly all are innocent. Under a 1968 Supreme Court ruling, officers can stop and search a person if they have a “reasonable suspicion” that person is up to something.

Civil liberties groups say the practice is racist and fails to deter crime. One University of Pittsburgh law professor says the stops rarely turn up weapons or drugs, and usually just result in more innocent people being hassled.

Police departments maintain it’s a necessary tool. New York City Commissioner Raymond Kelly calls it a “proven law enforcement tactic to fight and deter crime.”

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