US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Image: twitter.com
INTERNATIONAL NEWS - US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, in remarks at an African-American church on Wednesday, praised “stop-and-frisk” policing methods that have aroused protests and successful legal challenges, for singling out minorities.
The anti-crime tactic in which police stop, question and search pedestrians for weapons or contraband, gained traction in New York City under Mayor Rudy Giuliani, now a top Trump supporter.
But opposition to the practice led police departments in New York, as well as Chicago and Newark, New Jersey, to agree to cut back on its use, in some cases submitting to outside monitoring and improving police training.
“I would do stop-and-frisk. I think you have to,” Trump said, according to excerpts of a Fox News “town hall” in Cleveland, after a listener asked what he would do to reduce crime in predominantly black communities across the nation.
“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,” he added.
Ending the practice in New York was a key plank of Democrat Bill de Blasio’s successful 2013 run for mayor.
As the race between Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton tightens ahead of the 8 November election, he has been reaching out to African-American voters, shown by opinion polls to largely favour Clinton.
Trump has portrayed himself as the “law-and-order candidate.” But Clinton has criticized many of his proposals as unconstitutional attacks on American freedoms.
Clinton’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s statement.
“Stop-and-frisk” had saved lives and reduced crime in New York City under Giuliani, the Trump campaign said in a statement.
“Mr Trump believes that a locally tailored version of ‘stop-and-frisk’ should be used in Chicago to help reduce skyrocketing violence and make our Chicago safe again,” spokesperson Jason Miller said.