On Fox & Friends, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump continued his defense of stop-and-frisk policing, stating it’s “quite unbelievable” that it’s not being used in Chicago. Neither Trump nor the hosts evidently realized that the Chicago Police Department already employs the tactic.
Right-wing media have long misrepresented the common American policing practice of stop and frisk, conflating it with New York City’s past version of stop and frisk that was not only ineffective but also found to be unconstitutional, due to the racially discriminatory manner in which it was carried out.
In fact, after a federal court in August 2013 struck down New York City’s specific application of the practice, the Chicago police superintendent explained that “stop and frisk is a tactic that every department in the country uses” in reporting that the ruling wouldn’t necessarily affect police operations in Chicago. Currently, Chicago is trying to bring its stop-and-frisk policies into constitutional compliance as New York City did, as Chicago’s ABC7 reported in February.
But in a Fox & Friends interview, both Trump and host Steve Doocy falsely suggested Chicago does not have stop and frisk at all. They tried to walk back Trump’s earlier calls for a nationwide application of the unconstitutional New York version, with Trump claiming that he “was really referring to Chicago with stop and frisk.” From the September 22 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): I read a report that apparently there, in that black church in Cleveland, you were asked what you would do about black-on-black crime, and you said maybe it’s time to bring back stop and frisk. And I saw that you sent out a tweet, “Stop and frisk works. Instead of criticizing New York police chief Ray Kelly, New Yorkers should thank him for keeping New York safe.” Why do you think stop and frisk would work?
DONALD TRUMP: Well Ray Kelly did a great job, and New York was not in a Chicago situation, but it was really in trouble. It was in bad shape, crime-wise. And with all the shootings and everything in it, it really, they -- Rudy Giuliani did a great job as mayor, and they really straightened things out with stop and frisk, and it was used further by the next mayor, Bloomberg. Now, they just -- recently, not so recently, but fairly recently they stopped it. But stop and frisk worked. We had tremendous shootings, numbers of shootings. Now Chicago is out of control. I was really referring to Chicago with stop and frisk. They asked me about Chicago and I was talking about stop and frisk for Chicago, where you had 3,000 shootings so far. 3,000 from January 1. Obviously you can’t let the system go the way it's going, but I suggested stop and frisk and some people think that’s a great idea and some people probably don't like it, but when you have 3,000 people shot and so many people dying, it's worse than some of the places we're hearing about like Afghanistan, you know, the war-torn nations. It's more dangerous.
DOOCY: It does sound, Mr. Trump, like Chicago's going to add I think I read 1,000 new police officers. So you’ve got more cops on the street, but unless you give them the tools, what are they going to do?
TRUMP: I think Chicago needs stop and frisk. People can criticize me for that or people can say whatever they want, but they asked me about Chicago and I think stop and frisk with good, strong law and order, but you have to do something, can’t continue the way it’s going.
How it's not being used in Chicago is -- to be honest with you, it's quite unbelievable, and you know the police, the local police, they know who has a gun who shouldn't be having a gun. They understand that.
DOOCY: Sure, stop and frisk for the most part is where you give cops more power to quiz passersby if there is reasonable suspicion.
TRUMP: Absolutely. In New York, it took them -- the numbers were unbelievably changed. I don’t mean just a little bit. It was massively changed, and it became a safe city. It went from an unsafe city to a safe city.