A front-page story in today's highlightsthe special humiliation inflicted on women who are detained and patted down by police under the NYPD's stop-and-frisk program. Male officers grope them, concentrating on "the waistband, armpit, collar and groin areas," and go through their purses, pulling out personal items such as tampons, birth control pills, and lacy underwear. "Yes, it’s intrusive," Inspector Kim Y. Royster tells the , "but wherever a weapon can be concealed is where the officer is going to search." Yet these searches almost never yield weapons.
The stops supposedly are justified by a "reasonable suspicion" of criminal activity, and the searches ostensibly are aiimed at protecting officers from hidden weapons they "reasonably" suspect may be present. Yet 46,784 stops of women last year yielded 3,993 arrests, suggesting that officers were wrong in suspecting criminal activity more than nine times out of 10. The hit rate for weapons was a lot worse: The reports that guns were found in 59 out of about 16,000 searches, or 0.37 percent of the time. (The numbers for men are similar.) How's that for reasonable?Of course only one presidential candidate--Gary Johnson--has actually had the courage to criticize Mayor Bloomberg and his bizarro mixture of policies.