Black Women Humiliated during NYC Police Stop & Frisk
Shari Archibald’s black handbag sat at her feet on the sidewalk in front of her Bronx home on a recent summer night. The two male officers crouched over her leather bag and rooted around inside, elbow-deep. he pulled out a tray of foil-covered pills, Ms. Archibald recalled.“What’s this?” the officer said, examining the pill packaging stamped “drospirenone/ethinylestradiol.”
“Birth control,” Ms. Archibald replied. Crystal Pope said she and some female friends had been patted down by officers who said they were searching for a male rapist.
The laws governing street stops are blind to gender. Male officers are permitted to frisk a woman if they reasonably suspect that she may be armed with a dangerous weapon that could be used to harm them. A frisk can escalate into a field search if officers feel a suspicious bulge while patting down the woman’s outer layer of clothing or the outline of her purse.
Last year, New York City police officers stopped 46,784 women, frisking nearly 16,000. Guns were found in 59 cases, according to an analysis of police statistics.