A coalition of civil rights advocates spoke out today against the Detroit Police Department’s decision to hire consultants with a conservative group that promoted the controversial stop-and-frisk program in New York City that critics say tramples on constitutional rights.
Speaking at the Detroit office of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the activists said they’re concerned that the stop-and-frisk program — which a federal judge ruled unconstitutional last month — is coming to Detroit. Earlier this year, the Detroit Police Department hired the Bratton Group and the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research to advise them on policing, paying them more than $600,000.
Over the last year or so, the Manhattan Institute, which is funded by conservatives such as brothers David and Charles Koch, has been working on a pilot program in Detroit to help reduce crime. The institute helped develop New York’s stop-and-frisk program, in which police can stop people and search them; the vast majority of such stops resulted in no arrests.
Mark Fancher, staff attorney at the Michigan ACLU, said he and others are concerned that African Americans and other minorities could be unfairly targeted in the stop-and-frisk program. He cited the ruling last month of U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin that detailed how minorities, especially African Americans and Latinos, were profiled under New York’s program.
Follow this story in the Detroit Free Press