PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In the moments he left the stage at Central High School after administering the oath of office to his new Police Commissioner, Richard Ross, Mayor Jim Kenney was asked about ‘stop and frisk’ policies that he’s ending. He calls it “unfortunate terminology used as a crime fighting tool.”
So now that he’s mayor, what about ‘stop and frisk?’
‘Police officers will always have the ability to pat someone down for a weapon,” Kenney said, “but you have to do it in a constitutional, explainable and understandable way.”
During the mayoral campaign, Kenney promised that the controversial ‘stop and frisk’ tactic – the subject of a federal consent decree – would not be in the police department’s vocabulary. He said “83% of the time, a stop and frisk incident does not result in an arrest or the recovery of a weapon.”
Critics have long said pedestrian stops made without reasonable suspicion violates the 4th Amendment.
“If they’re being stopped because there was a flash about a particular description of a person who just committed a crime, and that person stopped fits that description,” the mayor said, “an officer should explain that’s what we’re looking for and that’s why we stopped you.”
In Kenney’s words, “there must be reasonable suspicion.”
“Let me give you one of the worst things an officer can say to someone during a stop, Kenney said. “‘What are you doing here?’ What do you mean, I’m an American citizen, I have a right to be anywhere.'”
Police Commissioner Ross said word out in the department is that a pat down only happens when an officer suspects criminal activity.