In his 2011 book The Rights of the People, David Shipler describes North East Washington, DC, just a few blocks from the Supreme Court, as “another country.” It deserves that name, in his view, because young black men in its poor neighborhoods are routinely subjected to policing that the rest of the city—and nation—would reject as utterly foreign. As he rides along with officers from the DC police gun unit, Shipler watches them subject young black men to aggressive stop-and-frisk searches with little or no suspicion—and marvels that so many young men have come to expect this demeaning treatment as a normal part of their daily lives.
If North East DC is another country, the poor neighborhoods of New York City are another world, where stop-and-frisk policing has risen to unprecedented levels. From 1990 to 1995 the NYPD subjected about 40,000 people a year to these searches. In 2011 that number skyrocketed to more than 684,000
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