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ACLU sues Philadelphia over “stop and frisk”

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

The ACLU says the Philadelphia Police Department is engaging in racial profiling through its “stop and frisk” policy. The civil liberties group has filed a lawsuit on behalf of eight black and Latino men.

When Mayor Nutter ran for office back in 2007 his crime-fighting platform called for stopping and searching more drivers and pedestrians to find illegal guns. It’s nicknamed “stop and frisk.”

The police department promised to engage in the practice without violating people’s constitutional rights. But the lawsuit accuses the department of racial profiling.

Lawyer David Rudovsky says each of the plaintiffs had been stopped and searched multiple times.

“Based on what they tell us and based on the police records we were able to review, there was absolutely no reason for the stops. That is they were not involved in any suspicious activity. And it appears to us that not only was there no grounds for the stop but at worse it was probably based on their race.”

Rudovsky says the stops have increased 25 to 30 percent under the Nutter Administration.

The plaintiffs include state representative Jewell Williams, an ethnographer at the University of Pennsylvania and an attorney.

A spokesman for the Mayor says he is not ready to comment on the lawsuit.

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