Donald Trump has unveiled a new strategy to fight crime in the United States. On Wednesday, speaking at a Fox News town hall at a predominantly black church in Cleveland, the Republican nominee said he would consider implementing nationwide "stop and frisk" policing if elected.
"I would do stop-and-frisk. I think you have to," Trump said, in response to a question on how he would stop "violence in the black community," from an audience member.
"We did it in New York, it worked incredibly well and you have to be proactive and, you know, you really help people sort of change their mind automatically," Trump answered. "You understand, you have to have, in my opinion, I see what's going on here, I see what's going on in Chicago, I think stop-and-frisk. In New York City it was so incredible, the way it worked."
Wednesday's town hall was part of Trump's ongoing efforts to court black voters. His proposal to implement stop and frisk on a federal level was in response to an audience member, who asked the self-described billionaire what he would do to address black-on-black crime. According to an ABC News poll from earlier this month, only about three percent of African-American voters support him.
The NYPD's stop and frisk program, which allows law enforcement officers to stop people on the street and pat them down for drugs or weapons without a warrant, has been the subject of widespread protests and multiple lawsuits challenging its constitutionality. Critics say the program disproportionately targets African-American and Latino citizens, the majority of whom are law-abiding New Yorkers, according to multiple studies. Civil rights groups have condemned the NYPD's program on the basis that it relies on racial profiling, illegal stops, and violates individuals' privacy rights.
The practice was popularized in New York City in the 1990s under then-police commissioner, Bill Bratton and under the mayorship of Rudy Giuliani, who is now an outspoken Trump surrogate. Since then, the practice has spread to police departments around the country. Giuliani's successor, Michael Bloomberg, also supported the tactic. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who succeeded Bloomberg in 2014, has vowed to end the stop and frisk program, although the NYPD still occasionally uses it.
Trump might be a fan of Bratton's stop and frisk policy, but Bratton himself has no love for the GOP nominee. The ex-NYPD commissioner has been a vocal critic of Trump this year, saying in August that his candidacy "scares the hell out of me."
Bratton added in the interview, given to CBS "This Morning" that Trump's acceptance of a Purple Heart medal from a veteran in August was "appalling" and that he was unfit to be president. "There's no compassion there. It's all about him and never about anybody else," Bratton said. "You know, strange times."