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ACLU Questions Baltimore Police’s ‘Stop & Frisk’ Method

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The ACLU calls attention to the Baltimore Police Department’s use of “stop and frisk” after records show the tactic isn’t getting the results you’d expect.

Monique Griego has more.

The numbers released by the department show a huge gap in the number of stops compared to the number of times police actually find someone carrying a gun or drugs.

Newly-released numbers from Baltimore Police have the American Civil Liberties Union questioning the department’s use of the controversial tactic “stop and frisk.”

“Our concern is that there’s been a wholly improper misuse of the tactic,” said Sonia Kumar.

Sonia Kumar, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Maryland, believes records they requested show police may be stepping outside of the law when it comes to having reasonable suspicion to stop and search someone.

According to department records in 2012, officers made more than 123,000 stops, which resulted in only 494 searches. Out of those, just 20 illegal items were found. Ten times it was drugs, nine guns and one knife.

“I personally think cops are overdoing it a bit,” said one resident.

“I’m happy they got those guns and drugs off the street but I just think for that many stops, they should have either more people or less stops,” said Lauren Tucker.

But the ACLU says for them, what was more shocking was that the department didn’t seem to be tracking its use of “stop and frisk” or the outcomes.

“Who was stopped, what the basis for the stops were, whether somebody was searched, why they were searched,” Kumar said.

In a statement to WJZ, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts agreed with the ACLU’s claim that the department needed to keep better records, saying, “This has been an issue for more than half a decade and is a pressing concern for the agency.” He says he has since implemented long-needed reforms.

Even some residents who agree with the use of “stop and frisk” believe improvements can be made.

“I just think they’d be a lot more efficient if they were carried out in a more researched way,” said Samuel Wertz.

The ACLU says it requested the records from Baltimore Police after a high-profile case in New York where a judge ruled the use of “stop and frisk” unconstitutional.

The ACLU is still waiting for the department to release the remainder of the records it requested surrounding the tactic.

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