ACLU: Philly Police still targets Latinos and African Americans
A new report shows that while the Philadelphia Police Department has made “some improvements,” stop and frisk and racial profiling are still a reality for thousands of minority men in Philadelphia.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the law firm of Kairys Rudovsky Messing & Feinberg filed the report as part of the monitoring process of the 2011 consent decree in Bailey v. Philadelphia, following a federal class-action lawsuit filed in 2010 that accused the Police Department’s of targeting minority men.
According to the report “despite having almost four years to improve its stop and frisk practices, the PPD continues to illegally stop and frisk tens of thousands of individuals.”
Of over 200,000 pedestrian stops in 2014, 37 percent were made without reasonable suspicion, and of the frisks, only 47 percent were made based on reasonable suspicion.
“Although Philadelphia’s population is 42.26 percent white, 43.22 percent black, and 8.5 percent Hispanic, 80.23 percent of stops were of minorities. The disparity was even greater for frisks, with minority residents accounting for 89.15 percent of frisks,” reads the report. (According to the 2010 Census the Latino population in Philadelphia is 13.3 percent of the total population.)
“Over-policing in communities of color does nothing to make the public safer. The Philadelphia Police Department needs to make residents their partners — not their targets,” said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “We hope the next mayor, who will undoubtedly have to deal with this problem, will prioritize true community policing over racially discriminatory stop and frisk practices.”
“This report shows that while the police department has made some improvements in its stop and frisk practices, there are still far too many persons — tens of thousands each year — who are stopped and frisked without legal justification,” said David Rudovsky of Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing & Feinberg, LLP.
Rudovsky also said that the city must move very decisively to ensure that stops are made only where there is reasonable suspicion of criminal conduct. “Failing such action, we will seek court intervention to secure full compliance with the consent decree.”
“The city has 30 days to respond to the report,” said Mark McDonald, press secretary for Mayor Michael Nutter to KYW Newsradio.