Memphians divided on the use of Stop and Frisk - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphians divided on the use of Stop and Frisk

(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)

Stop and Frisk: it's a police technique that was brought up during the presidential debate, for which both candidates had opposing views, and it's a technique that is being fought in the courts and in the media.

But, it's a possibility in Memphis.

Following Republican nominee Donald Trump's talk about using Stop and Frisk methods across the country in Monday night's debate, people in Memphis have raised the issue as to if it could be effective in the Bluff City.

It's a topic that has people, not just presidential candidates, divided.

"That's one of the worst things you could do right now," William Golden  said. "The gap that we already got between the community and the police, it's going to make it even bigger."

Golden said stop and frisk methods in Memphis would only cause more problems. 

Keith Dunning, one of the leaders of the Lifeline to Success program, disagrees. 

"Me, personally, I don't have a problem with it," Dunning said. "Within reason, I mean, just targeting to But say if it's a high crime area, then maybe this is what needs to be done in order to bring the crime down."

If it would bring crime down, Pastor Keith Norman of First Baptist-Broad said he might support it. But, he said its use in New York City proved that is not true.

"We only found guns one out of every 3,000 stops," Norman said. "So that's not an effective method for getting illegal guns off of our street."

In addition, he said out of the 4.4 million stop and frisks in New York City between 2004 and 2012, 80 percent of them were Hispanic and African-American. That is why it was ruled unconstitutional. 

But, former prosecutor and new President of the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission Bill Gibbons said the Stop and Frisk method is not unconstitutional in and of itself...only when it is used to target minorities. He said the court made very specific rules for when it can be used.

"In order to detain someone, there's got to be reasonable suspicion that individual has either committed a crime, is in the process of committing a crime, or is about to commit a crime," Gibbons said. "In order to pat down someone, there has to be reasonable suspicion that the individual possesses a deadly weapon."

Norman said there is a lot of gray area when people talk about what 'reasonable suspicion' is...and therein lies the problem.

A spokesman for Memphis Police Department sent a statement regarding the Stop and Frisk method that says, in part:

"The Memphis Police Department has not changed the manner in which officers conduct encounters with our citizens...we will continue to remain professional and conduct ourselves in accordance with the law."

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