Donald Trump has had a rough evening in his first debate with Hillary Clinton. But one of his roughest moments came when he decided to come out strongly in support of a policy that has been declared unconstitutional — “stop and frisk.”
Trump said that stop and frisk was responsible for lowering the murder rate in New York City, and that it should be used again, on a wider basis, in cities like Chicago. He wants to take guns away from people he says shouldn’t have them. Who are those people? He identified them as gangs, and illegal immigrants, “many of whom have guns.”
Moderator Lester Holt pointed out to Trump that stop and frisk was ruled unconstitutional, because it involved racial profiling. And Trump actually confirmed, by identifying the people who shouldn’t have guns, that racial profiling is exactly what he wants to do. But he told Holt his statement that stop and frisk was ruled unconstitutional was wrong. He said,
It went before a judge who was a very against police judge. It was taken away from her. And our mayor, our new mayor, refused to go forward with the case.
Like much of what Trump had to say during the debate, that was pretty close to incoherent. Here’s what really happened, according to the Center For Constitutional Rights:
August 12, 2013 — In a landmark decision today, a federal court found the New York City Police Department’s highly controversial stop-and-frisk practices unconstitutional. In her thorough, 198-page ruling, Judge Shira Scheindlin found the NYPD’s practices to violate New Yorkers’ Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and also found that the practices were racially discriminatory in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Later in 2013 a federal appeals court blocked Judge Scheindlin’s order requiring the NYPD to make changes in the stop and frisk program, and they removed her from the case. But the court rejected the city’s request to vacate her orders. The Bloomberg administration appealed, but the de Blasio administration dropped the appeal.
The short of it? Stop and frisk was ruled unconstitutional. That ruling was not vacated or overturned, therefore, stop and frisk continues to be unconstitutional. Trump has no idea what he is talking about.
Here’s Trump’s passionate defense of an unconstitutional policy, via YouTube:
Featured image via Win McNamee/Getty Images