Stop, Question & Frisk

Effective or offensive?

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Comments (22)

(18) TMay, May 26, 2012 9:18 PM

govt's viewpoint

If you look at things through the view of the government and not through the viewpoint of people and not through the viewpoint of the constitution, then the following can be the result: "Italian Police Pulling People Over for Driving a Luxury Car" The police are stopping luxury cars and looking for unpaid taxes so that they can impound the cars. The traffic stop takes on average 45 minutes. It turns out that the assumptions are wrong, and that 1/3 of the drivers exhibit bad decision making in that they bought the cars when they couldn't afford them. The country of Italy taxes based on residency so it can affect US citizens residing in Italy, even though they have to file regarding American taxes no matter where they live; and it can affect Italian citizens allegedly residing in Monaco too. There is nothing like police power of the state. I suggest we not kiss our constitutional protections goodbye. The govt has an infinite appetite for everything, power, money, your life. "Infinite" means "no limits". The constitution is a limit on gov't power. Think of a gang member, a thug. Think of a gang member with a gun. Think of a gang member with a gun with police power to shoot you; to seize your property. Get it? Good intentions of the people changing the rules is meaningless. That is why elected representatives who know they can be voted out is a good thing, while unelected appointments to positions of power with no oversight, with funding and without congressional control over the purse strings and without congressional oversight, like the czars whom Pres Obama appointed is a bad thing. Our founders knew about checks and balances.

(17) Shoshana, May 24, 2012 2:11 PM

I agree in theory

How would I feel if my teen-age grandson were stopped or endured a possible next step-- the strip search?

(16) SusanE, May 20, 2012 7:40 PM


"Those who will exchange liberty for safety will find they have neither." I agree with that statement and with the entire comment from Rachel #8. I also think that, "Liberty cannot be guaranteed by law. Nor by anything else except the resolution of free citizens to defend their liberties" : quoted from Edward Abbey. Rabbi Salomon, you know the words 'never again............... Therefore, one must remember there is always a first step.

(15) adriana horowitz, May 20, 2012 5:48 PM

i agree wit you on this topic

great video. it makes a lot of sense what you said. I couldn't agree more with you.

(14) TMay, May 20, 2012 7:02 AM

constitution and common sense

I think rather than make it up as we go along that we in the US should live by the constitution.We should also use common sense. We should concentrate on creating good people so that people don't carry weapons for crime. I know that is a challenge when religion is looked down on by so many. Israel is another matter.

(13) Anonymous, May 20, 2012 12:35 AM

Read the 4th Amendment

"Amendment 4: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." There is a very real and compelling reason for the 4th amendment. Those who enforce the law are not above the law. And those limits in the law are there to protect the innocent. Torah and Talmud have rules which limit the power of a court. So does the secular law in the US. As long as the "Stop, Question, Frisk" is done in a manner which does not violate the right that we as citizens of the US have to be "secure in their persons" I have no problem. If a crime has been committed and I match the description then, by all means, stop and question. If the police have grounds for arrest, then go ahead and frisk. But barring legal cause for arresting me, please, keep your dirty rotten hands to yourself, officer!

Anonymous, May 24, 2012 3:10 AM

Dirty rotten hands

Sounds as though you resent authority. Don't hate the messenger.

(12) Melanie Vliet, May 18, 2012 3:10 AM

I Agree

Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that "[t]he heart is deceitful above all things; who can know it?" Yes, reasonable suspicion is all that is required for a non-custodial detention. The reason why frisking is permitted during such a stop is for the protection of the officer; the detainee may be armed. It is better to invade the person's privacy briefly than permit him or her to murder a law enforcement officer permanently. I am a law student, and my comments are based on the criminal procedure course I took last year.

(11) Sandy & Chana Goodman, May 17, 2012 8:42 PM

Thank you for your comment and complement

For everyone's information neither of us are lawyers but we are well informed. We hope that someday everyone will be so. Sandy & Chana Goodman, Dallas, TX

(10) Sandy & Chana Goodman, May 17, 2012 3:38 AM

Civil rights must be protected but at the expense of public safety

Dear Rabbi Solomon: The Torah is all for civil rights but not at the expense of public safety. We have heard people say that one should give the other person the benefit of the doubt. We agree, except if there is reason to believe that the other person could be a possible threat to our safety. Under those circumstances, be careful! There is a difference between the way we operate in a court of law and out in the street. In a court of law we do not convict a suspect unless we know that that suspect is guilty beyond the shadow of any reasonable doubt because do not want to punish some who just might be innocent. Out in the street if there is even the slightest suspicion that that person may be harmful we have a duty to protect ourselves and society. The police cannot search a person’s home or business without a warrant because one’s home is one’s castle and a warrant cannot be issued by a court without probable cause. On the street, on the other hand, one is in public and being so means that there is an implied consent to be searched by law enforcement for the purpose of public safety. Sandy & Chana Goodman Dallas, Texas

Yisroel, May 17, 2012 1:16 PM


I think Sandy & Chana Goodman of Dallas present their case in a reasoned and compelling manner. They must either be lawyers or be closely related to someone who practices law. Their insights and instincts are, I think, right on track. And they are obviously well informed. I have nothing of moment to add to their able assessment of the situation. Yisroel Pollack of Brooklyn, NY

(9) Simcha, May 16, 2012 4:12 AM

In response to Rabbi Salomon!!!

I agree with Rabbi Salomon. I also agree with #3, Chana, who expressed her feelings very nicely and accurately. I reside in Israel and had a very bad experience loaning money to someone who I thought was one of the most trusted people on the face of the Earth. This person was the first rabbi I learned with in yeshiva when I was single almost 30 years ago. He asked me to write ten open head checks because he had a problem with his account and was not allowed to write any checks. Every month he was suppose to reimburse me for the amount when the check was cashed. He reimbursed me the first three months and then stopped reimbursing me. He also would not answer my phone calls. I stopped payment on the checks like my rabbi told me to do and this person then called me and was very upset. He said he would reimburse me but never did. Beware of who you trust!!!

(8) Rachel, May 16, 2012 3:47 AM

This policy is outrageous

This policy pretty clearly violates the 4th and 14 Amendments to the US Constitution. (I don't know NYS law, and if you live in another nation, security measures in the UK, Israel or wherever are beside the point.) And as the aunt of 3 nephews and 2 nieces who are half-Latino, I can tell you that yes, young dark-skinned men (In particular) are frequently stopped for no reason (it's happened to all 3 of my nephews.) And, if there were a serious crime that (G-d forbid) was apparently committed by Orthodox Jews, I suspect, Rabbi, that you'd change your tune pretty quickly when this policy was used on you or members of your family. By the way, in probable cause situations where there is a possibility of flight, there is generally no requirement for the officers to wait for those of the same gender as the suspect. So if I were the suspect -- a married woman who has not touched any man outside my immediate family in decades -- I could nonetheless be patted down by a male officer. And if the officers questioning you, Rabbi, were both women (as is possible) and they thought you should be patted down, a woman officer could do that to you. Furthermore, routinely treating an entire group of people as suspects leads to social unrest, hostility, and even more violence. (See Northern Ireland, South Africa, the U.S. in the 1960s, etc.) I believe it was Franklin who said "Those who will exchange liberty for safety will find they have neither."

(7) Norm Fishler, May 15, 2012 6:52 PM

No unlawful searches

That is a mighty two edged sword that you're wielding. The fact that the word is out that the searches are ongoing is enough to bring the street crime way down is certainly a strong selling point for this sort of policy but it is no justification for such intrusive governmental actions. If they really wanted to put a serious dent in lawlessness they would put those caught committing crimes of violence away for a long, long time with out any hope of early parole. But, no . . . instead we coddle them, pscyoanalyze their every word, & double check to find out whether or not their mothers loved them. This approach has FAILED time & again, and will continue to do so as long as the rights of criminals are allowed to overshadow those of the citizenry. But now we have a new wrinkle - quasi-legal searches. Will they hold up in court? No mention was made of any challanges, but it seems fairly certain to me that this will get attacked from both ends of the political spectrum. My question is really quite simple: Consider your civil rights as a loaf. How many more slices off it will you be comfortable with, or even allow in the name of your personal safety? You do not have my proxy to give up any one's apart from your own. Mark that double for mine.

(6) Inbar, May 15, 2012 5:21 PM

seems simplistic

To me, it seems simplistic to ascribe lower crime rates to this policy only. And I feel definitely uneasy about blacks and latinos being targeted for searches. It sounds as if white gun carriers, criminals or not, can safely continue until they're caught red-handed, or well known criminals. And as they are not suspected, this is less likely. After all, expectations also colour our interpretations of what we see.

(5) Anonymous, May 15, 2012 5:01 PM


I live in Israel and it is regular policy for everyone to be checked when entering stores, restaurants, buildings, malls, etc. It has saved many lives and people her just take it in stride. Whenever I visit the states I find it strange and a bit unsettling to go into places where there is no guard checking everyone

Alan S., May 17, 2012 11:26 PM

It's sad that this is the way it has to be in Israel. Thank goodness it is not this way in the US.

Inbar, May 20, 2012 2:44 PM

not the same at all

In Israel EVERYONE is checked, so there are no racist selections strengthening existing prejudices against parts of the general public. In the case rabbi Solomon states, a racial background is the main criterium to select those to be checked. Not at all comparable.

(4) Alison, May 15, 2012 3:09 PM

Not necessarily cause and effect

Crime is down all over, not just in NYC, and there is no stop and frisk in other cities. This is just another way of pretending that racism does not exit in NYC. If so, why are the vast majority of those being searched men of color? I have black male friends whose daily life is totally different from mine. They are always aware of their surroundings because they are so used to being harrassed by the police. They have to be careful not to fun down the street because that's cause for searching a black man. You really think this is justified? Makes me very sad.

(3) Chana, May 14, 2012 7:02 PM

Totally agree

Dear Rabbi Salomon, I have to totally agree with you! Yes, it is not pleasant to be stopped by the police, let alone be frisked and your belongings be searched, but I know that I have nothing to hide and therefore it does not bother me and I am not offended and upset: I have no reason to be! When walking around in the United States I find that the police is in general very polite, friendly, understanding and courteous, (compared to other countries) so I would find it a minor inconvenience, as long as I am treated with courtesy and respect .

(2) Anonymous, May 13, 2012 1:35 PM

I hope that some day they are not looking for me

I know that I am comparing apples and oranges but I do not trust the state. That too has been inbred in us. It touches something very deep and you know what it is. I will just say this: I just hope that one day someone does not stop me for being Jewish. That has a very long, painful, murderous, history.

(1) Yisroel, May 13, 2012 1:21 PM

Yes But...

I agree with your stance on the policy issue but I take exception to your invocation of a Talmudic source that has no application to the case at hand. It is, as we say, comparing apples and oranges. If you want to approach the issue on Talmudic grounds, a lot more scholarly erudition is called for.


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