The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits unlawful search and seizure. There are many ways in which a search and seizure can be unlawful, from the illegal search of a person to the unlawful seizure of property from an alleged criminal suspect’s home or motor vehicle. One of the more contentious issues concerning the Fourth Amendment and its protection is the practice of “stop and frisk.” In 2013, The New York Times published an article about the prevalence of racial discrimination in “stop and frisk” procedures and programs. Despite the fact that a New York court found the NYPD’s stop and frisk program to be racially discriminatory, that same year the Detroit police chief asserted that stop and frisk procedures would not change in Michigan.
What is a stop and frisk, and when is it unlawful?