GOP senator says more racist policing is the solution to gun violence

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John Kennedy thinks America needs more 'stop-and-frisk' policies.

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) suggested on Wednesday that the solutions to gun violence are keeping the police system as it is and adopting policies to "stop and frisk" more citizens.

During an appearance on Fox News, Kennedy was asked about what's being done about gun violence in large American cities. He proposed three solutions.

"Number one, don't defund the police. Number two, I love social workers, but don't send a social worker to do a cop's job," Kennedy urged. Number three, he said, is to ask former mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg about "how they got control of the violence in New York City.

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"They will tell you they implemented stop, question, and frisk. They used it, as it should be used, in a racially neutral manner. It's perfectly constitutional," Kennedy said.

Contrary to his claim, New York City's stop-and-frisk policy, which allowed law enforcement officers to briefly detain, question, and search people on the basis of "reasonable suspicion" that they had committed a felony or were about to do so, was ruled unfair to minority populations as well as unconstitutional by a federal judge in 2013.

Stop-and-frisk policies were often used in racial profiling by law enforcement. The vast majority of the people stopped by the police were Black or Latino.

"Under Bloomberg, NYPD increased stop and frisk from 100,000 stops to nearly 700,000 stops per year. 90% of those impacted were people of color — overwhelmingly black and brown men,” civil rights activist and data scientist Samuel Sinyangwe tweeted in November, NBC reported last November.

The city agreed to reform the policy in 2014.

Kennedy's assertion that stop and frisk was the city's solution to gun violence has also been debunked. A 2016 Brennan Center analysis noted that after the program was ended, crime in New York City continued to decrease: "Statistically, no relationship between stop-and-frisk and crime seems apparent. New York remains safer than it was 5, 10, or 25 years ago."

In February, an analysis conducted by the Washington Post found a similar result: no consistent correlation between stop and frisk and fewer felonies. That report noted that criminologists credited better police work for the drop in crime, not the policy.

Kennedy's other two suggestions — essentially that the current police system be kept as is — indicate that he feels the status quo is sufficient to handle gun violence.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been more than 22,000 gun violence deaths so far in 2020 alone, 9,329 of them homicides and 299 of them mass shootings.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.