Councilman Newton: Bring ‘stop and frisk’ to Bridgeport
City Councilman Ernie Newton announced Thursday that he would like to see a stop-and-frisk policy enacted in Bridgeport in the wake of the drive-by shooting death of 12-year-old Clinton Howell.
He made the announcement during a news conference at Summerfield United Methodist Church, just blocks from where Howell was murdered.
Stop and frisk involves police officers stopping people who they deem to be suspicious even if they're not committing a crime and checking them for weapons.
The same policy was widely criticized in New York City because it overwhelmingly targeted minorities. Almost 90 percent of the time, black and Hispanic men were searched. Most did not have weapons. Crime rates have continued to drop in New York City even after stop and frisk was cut back on.
Rev. Harron Gaston, of the Summerfield United Methodist Church, said he would have “some concerns” about stop and frisk coming to Bridgeport.
“We don't want to see law enforcement as the enemy. We want to see law enforcement as partners in the community,” he said.
Mayor Joe Ganim said that it would be up to the councilman to introduce a bill to be considered.
“We'll certainly have some dialogue on it…it's a very difficult time for people now," said the mayor.
Councilman Newton said that the policy wouldn’t be run “like New York” and is meeting with the NAACP and other groups to discuss future plans.
“We've got to get people to understand we mean business. You can't shoot up our streets," said the councilman.