Trump: Expand stop-frisk police tactic

Kurtis Lee
Los Angeles Times

Donald Trump wants police to use stop-and-frisk tactics more aggressively in black communities even though a federal judge has ruled that the practice violates the rights of minorities.

Asked in a town hall on Fox News’ “Hannity” on Wednesday how he would combat violence in poor black neighborhoods, the GOP presidential nominee said police should stop and frisk people.

“I would do stop-and-frisk. I think you have to. We did it in New York; it worked incredibly well. And you have to be proactive,” Trump said.

The policy, once used by many police departments, gained traction in New York under two former mayors, Rudolph W. Giuliani, now a top Trump surrogate, and Michael R. Bloomberg, now a fierce Trump critic.

The tactic drew dozens of lawsuits by people who argued that they were unfairly targeted by police on racial grounds as they walked the city’s streets.

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In 2013, a federal judge ruled that New York’s stop-and-frisk policy had violated the rights of minorities.

Former U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin, who ruled in the case, told BuzzFeed on Wednesday that Trump’s comments were “destructive.”

A study from the New York Civil Liberties Union found that blacks and Latinos were disproportionately stopped by police from 2002 until 2013 under the stop-and-frisk policy. Few had committed any crimes.

On Wednesday, Trump lauded the experience in New York, saying “it was so incredible the way it worked.”

“I think that would be one step you could do,” he said when asked how to reduce violence in inner cities.

In recent weeks Trump has made overt pitches to black voters, who have largely shunned his campaign.

Political analysts say those appeals may be aimed at easing concerns of moderate white voters, who view some of his rhetoric as racist.

Polls show Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, has overwhelming support among black voters, a key segment of the party’s base.

Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign has inserted itself into already tricky negotiations on a temporary spending bill needed to avert a government shutdown, siding with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in trying to block the government from ceding its limited role in overseeing some aspects of the internet.

Many experts say Cruz and his allies are greatly overstating the Commerce Department’s potential influence over internet content and spinning exaggerations and conspiracy theories.