Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Thursday said he supports using “stop-and-frisk” policing solely in Chicago, where he said gun violence is making the city more dangerous than “war-torn” countries.
Speaking on “Fox & Friends,” Trump backed off statements he made on Wednesday in a pre-taped interview in which he suggested he’d want to implement a national stop-and-frisk program.
“I think Chicago needs stop-and-frisk. Now 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, you know, good strong law and order. But you have to do something. It can’t continue the way it’s going,” Trump said.
Trump was also asked for his definition of stop-and-frisk.
“If they see a person possibly with a gun or they think may have a gun, they will see the person, they’ll look, and they’ll take the gun away. They’ll stop, they’ll frisk and they’ll take the gun away,” Trump said. “And they won’t have anything to shoot with. 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.”
Trump credited New York City’s drop in shooting rates to stop-and-frisk, saying former mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg got it right, despite the practice being ruled unconstitutional in 2013 because it disproportionately impacted minorities.
“Stop-and-frisk worked. We had tremendous shootings, numbers of shootings. Now Chicago is out of control,” Trump said.
“Chicago, where you had 3,000 shootings so far — 3,000 from January 1st — and 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. I mean, it’s worse than some of the places we’re hearing about like Afghanistan, you know, the war-torn nations. It’s more dangerous.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois blasted Trump’s comments, saying he’s flat out “wrong” for believing New York’s shooting rate went down because of stop-and-frisk practices. Ed Yohnka, ACLU spokesman, also said stop-and-frisk would further erode public trust in the Chicago Police Department.
“I think that he [Trump] just has the wrong prescription as to what it is that’s actually wrong here. The truth is that one of the things that the city is being plagued by is the fact that we have this breakdown, complete breakdown of trust between the police and the community, and stop-and-frisk didn’t fix that,” Yohnka said. “Stop and frisk made it worse.”
“The idea, somehow, that this is now the solution. To go back to the system where people are being harassed on the street … doing it would make things worse,” he said.
In a report released in March 2015, the ACLU found African-Americans were subjected to 72 percent of Chicago Police stops between May and August of 2014, although they are just 32 percent of the city’s population. Chicago stops a shocking number of people, the ACLU report said, pointing to more than 250,000 stops without arrests in the summer of 2014 alone.
The ACLU also reviewed 250 contact cards that officers filled out after stops and concluded that half didn’t list a lawful reason for the stops.
New York scaled back its stop-and-frisk practices, recording 23 stops per 1,000 people in 2011 and just two stops per 1,000 in 2014, while Chicago had 93 stops per 1,000 in the summer of 2014.
In its report, the ACLU criticized Chicago Police for failing to record when officers frisk someone. The ACLU also questioned whether officers stop people illegally. Under a settlement, the police department agreed to expand the information on “contact cards” that officers have been required to fill out when they stop someone on the street for questioning.
The changes were meant to improve the department’s “legitimacy” and build the public’s confidence in how cops do their jobs, public officials said.
David Axelrod, former adviser to President Barack Obama, also criticized Trump’s stance on CNN Thursday, saying stop-and-frisk in Chicago would be “like taking a can of kerosene and pouring it over a fire.”
Trump’s comments came hours before Mayor Rahm Emanuel addressed the city’s violence epidemic in a Thursday evening speech.