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Stop-and-Frisk in Philadelphia: ACLU of PA Releases Policy Paper

Jun 25, 2024

The ACLU of Pennsylvania has released “Wasted Resources: The failures of stop-and-frisk in Philadelphia,” a comprehensive policy paper that scrutinizes the unlawful application of stop-and-frisk over the past 15 years in Philadelphia.

The report traces its roots to a federal lawsuit filed nearly 15 years ago by the ACLU of Pennsylvania, Penn Law School, and the law firm Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing, Feinberg & Lin LLP. This legal challenge highlighted the Philadelphia Police Department’s discriminatory and illegal use of stop-and-frisk, marking a critical juncture in civil rights advocacy.

“In 2011, the landmark Bailey v. City of Philadelphia lawsuit resulted in a consent decree aimed at addressing the unconstitutional use of stop-and-frisk,” noted Langer Grogan & Diver’s Mary Catherine Roper, former deputy legal director at the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “The ensuing consent decree mandated independent monitoring of stop-and-frisk data, leading to significant reforms that deprioritized the tactic for minor offenses. This approach has been lauded as a success by advocates for criminal legal reform.”

The policy paper exposes persistent flaws in the implementation of the Bailey consent decree, emphasizing that stop-and-frisk has failed to effectively combat violent crime while perpetuating racial disparities and targeting communities of color.

The ACLU of Pennsylvania continues to advocate for meaningful reforms and equitable policing practices, leveraging community engagement and ongoing monitoring under the Bailey consent decree to safeguard civil liberties and promote public safety initiatives that benefit all Philadelphians.

For further insights into “Wasted Resources: The failures of stop-and-frisk in Philadelphia,” please access the full policy paper here.

For the recording of the press briefing, click here.