Footnotes to “The Origins of Stop-And-Frisk”

Jacobin recently published my essay on dragnet policing and the sixties rebellions. You can find it here. It was a really positive and instructive experience working with Nicole Aschoff on the edits. Nicole’s advice about structure, word choice, and clarity was spot-on. The piece is far better–and I’m far happier with it–as a result. I also must thank Shawn Gude for his last-minute revisions.

I’ve decided to post the footnotes to the piece on the blog, in case anyone wanted to follow up on the specific claims I make. I know that when I read a popular piece by a scholar I’m always curious about the sources. So here they are! (Sorry for the imperfect formatting; also I kept secondary source citations deliberately minimal.)

Feel free to post comments about the essay here. I’ll appreciate the feedback.

Dragnet, the show

1. Steven D. Stark, “Perry Mason Meets Sonny Crockett: The History of Lawyers and the Police as Television Heroes,” University of Miami Law Review, 42 (1987), 242-249; David A. Sklansky, Democracy and the Police (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008), 59-60.

2. Ibid; “Jack, Be Nimble!” Time, March 15, 1954.

LA as stop-and-search pioneer

3. David B. Wolcott, Policing Juvenile Delinquency in Urban America, 1890-1940 (Columbus: The Ohio State University, 2005), 147; Joseph Gerald Woods, “The Progressives and the Police: Urban Reform and Professionalization of the Los Angeles Police” (PhD Diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 1973), 287-288.

Emergence of stop-and-frisk

4. Note, “New York Authorizes Police to “Stop-and-Frisk” on Reasonable Suspicion,” Harvard Law Review, 78, no. 2 (1964): 473-477; Loren G. Stern, “Stop and Frisk: An Historical Answer to a Modern Problem,” The Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police Science, 58, no. 4 (1967): 532-542; Herman Schwartz, “Stop and Frisk (A Case Study in Judicial Control of the Police),” The Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police Science, 58, no. 4 (1967): 433-464.

“War on Crime”

5. Looking “tough” on vice crimes was a surefooted way police departments could demonstrate commitment to their “war on crime.” It was not only about optics, though. Postwar reformers believed they were striking at the root of two problems at once: political corruption and the degradation of morals. Historically, urban political machines (ca. 1870-1950s, later in some places) ran a protection racket in the vice trades—like gambling and prostitution—through the strong arm of law enforcement. Both police and politicians—who often handpicked police personnel—were paid by crime bosses to look the other way. Many historians cover this, but see, Robert Fogelson, Big-City Police (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1977), 125-140; Philadelphia police quote, Joseph D. Lohman and Gordon E. Misner, The Police and the Community: The Dynamics of Their Relationship in a Changing Society, vol. 2 (Washington, D.C., 1966), 156. For many officers, Lohman and Misner noted, “‘To lose a corner’ is to suffer a moral defeat.” Ibid, 142.

Avondale field interrogations

6. Letter from James Paradise to C. A. Harrell, City Manager, November 25, 1958, Folder 31, Box 1074, American Civil Liberties Union Records, Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton, NJ (ACLU); Robert A. Burnham, “Reform, Politics, and Race in Cincinnati: Proportional Representation and the City Charter Committee, 1924-1959,” Journal of Urban History, 23, no. 2 (1997): 150-151; Charles F. Casey-Leininger, “Making the Second Ghetto in Cincinnati: Avondale, 1925-1970,” in Race and the City: Work, Community, Housing, and Protest in Cincinnati, 1820-1970, ed. Henry Louis Taylor Jr. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993), 243.

7. Letter from James Paradise, Folder 31, Box 1074, ACLU; San Francisco police implemented a similar campaign around the same time. See, Christopher Agee, The Streets of San Francisco: Policing and the Creation of a Cosmopolitan Liberal Politics, 1950-1972 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2014), 35-39; William W. Turner, The Police Establishment (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1968), 145-146; Fogelson, Big-City Police, 188.

Wilson’s aggressive, preventive patrol

8. Jude Wanniski, “A City Turns the Tide With Its Chief of Police,” The National Observer, September 6, 1965, 7; Turner, The Police Establishment, 113, 119; President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice, Task Force Report: The Police (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1967), 190-191.


9. Robert M. Fogelson and Robert B. Hill, A Study of the Arrest Patterns in the 1960s Riots (New York, 1969), 25, found in Folder 13, Box 1084, ACLU.

Patterson youth

10. “White Boycott,” Newsweek, August 24, 1964, 30.

Avondale uprising

11. After the uprising, a group of black leaders delivered eleven grievances to the mayor. Repeal of the ordinance was one of them. “Eleven Grievances Presented to the Mayor by Negro Leaders June 13, 1967,” Appendix, “Cincinnati – Reconnaissance Survey – Field Research Report (Draft),” Box E44, Series E10, Records of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (NACCD), Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library, Austin, TX (LBJ); National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, Report (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1968), 26 (Kerner Report); in 1971, the US Supreme Court found the Cincinnati ordinance unconstitutional. Coates v. Cincinnati, 402 U.S. 611, 91 S. Ct. 1686, 29 L. Ed. 2d 214 (1971).

Government-sponsored studies of policing

12. For useful overviews of police treatment of African Americans, see, Kerner Report, 157-168; Task Force Report: The Police, 178-188; Lawrence P. Tiffany, Donald M. McIntyre, Jr., and Daniel L. Rotenberg, Detection of Crime: Stopping and Questioning, Search and Seizure, Encouragement and Entrapment (Boston: Little, Brown, 1967), 20-23; Herman Schwartz, “Stop and Frisk (A Case Study in Judicial Control of the Police),” The Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police Science, 58, no. 4 (1967): 444-447, 452-455.

Detroit community organizer/San Fran young men

13. “Kerner Commission — meeting minutes, Aug 21, 1967,” p. 5, Folder 6, Box 394, Jerome Cavanagh Papers, Walter P. Reuther Library, Detroit, MI; Carl Wertham and Irving Piliavin, “Gang Members and the Police,” in The Police: Six Sociological Essays, ed. David J. Bordua (New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1967), 88.

Story of Joyce Ann Gaines

14. This narrative draws upon Evelle D. Younger, Report Concerning Riot in Los Angeles, August 1965, File No. 144-12-1102, Records of the Department of Justice, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, MD. See Summary of Facts and Discussions and Conclusions. Vergie Nash owned a beauty shop at 11901 South Avalon, near where the arrest of the Fryes took place. Her statement to state investigators was typical. The interview notes read, “She was provoked at seeing the officer kick the prisoner, at the way Miss Gaines was manhandled and further, that there were so many law enforcement officers on the scene to ‘arrest three people.’” Ibid, 73-74.

Bystander Interventions/”Cop-Fighting”

15. “The Trend Toward Mob Violence,” Los Angeles Times, October 16, 1961, p. B4; “Assault Rise on N.Y. Police Hit in Talk,” The Sun, August 1, 1961, p. 3; for San Francisco see “Terror in the Streets: Behind the Rise in U.S. Crime,” U.S. News and World Report, December 24, 1962, p. 54; testimony of San Francisco Police Chief Thomas J. Cahill, “Proceedings of the Section of Criminal Law, Aug 6-8, 1962,” American Bar Association, Summary of Proceedings of Section of Criminal Law (1962): 20; Morley Cassidy, “Most Explosive Race Problem In North,” Philadelphia Tribune, February 18, 1958, 1; “Negroes Fight Detroit Cops; 19 Are Injured,” Chicago Daily Tribune, July 9, 1957, 7; “Mob at Dance Attacks Cops, Injuring Three,” Chicago Daily Tribune, February 11, 1958, 14.

1961 as banner year of “cop-fighting”

16. H. B. Shaffer “Control of City Crime,” Editorial Research Reports 1961, Vol. II (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 1961); Luther P. Jackson, “Police Brutality Charges Stir Negro Community,” Washington Post and Times Herald, October 1, 1961, B3.

Crowd rescues in Los Angeles/Griffith Park

17. Ed Cray, The Enemy in the Streets: Police Malpractice in America (New York: Anchor Books, 2nd ed., 1972), 180; “75 Policemen Quell Riot in Griffith Park,” Los Angeles Times, May 31, 1961, 1; People v. Jones, 205 Cal. App. 2d 460, 23 Cal. Rptr. 418 (1962) at 462-463; Tracy Tullis, “A Vietnam at Home: Policing the Ghettos in the Counterinsurgency Era,” (Ph.D. Diss., New York University, 1999), 202-203; “2 More Suspects Jailed in Riot at Griffith Park,” Los Angeles Times, June 1, 1961, B1; “Aftermath of the ‘Freedom Rides’?” U.S. News and World Report, June 12, 1961, 4.

Terry v. Ohio

18. Terry v. Ohio 392 U.S. 1 (1968).

19. For a discussion of Terry in context of police treatment of African Americans on the street in the 1960s, see, Tracey Maclin, “Terry v. Ohio’s Fourth Amendment Legacy: Black Men and Police Discretion,” St. John’s Law Review, 72 (1998): 1296-1309.


20. John A. Ronayne, “An Analysis of Police Practices in Cleveland, Ohio with Regard to Their Effect Upon Civil Rights,” p. 18, March 1965, Box 11, Records Relating to Race Relations in Cleveland, OH, 1964-1966, Records of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, NARA; Interview summary of John T. Corrigan, County Prosecutor, December 1, 1965, Box 10, ibid; Testimony of Booker T. Eddy, Cleveland, Ohio, in Police and the Blacks: U.S. Civil Rights Commission Hearings (New York: Arno Press, 1971), 557-562.

Terry v. Ohio 2

21. John Q. Barrett, “Deciding the Stop and Frisk Cases: A Look Inside the Supreme Court’s Conference,” St. John’s Law Review 72 (1998), 825.

“Curbstone Justice” and “Indicted Corners”

22. Marilynn S. Johnson, Street Justice: A History of Police Violence (Boston: Beacon Press, 2003), 41; “New Phrase Packs Punch: ‘Indicted Corner’ Is Good Place Not To Be,” Baltimore Sun, June 4, 1957, p. 9.

LDF amicus brief

23. Brief of Amicus Curiae of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., Terry v. Ohio 392 U.S. 1 (1968) (Nos. 63, 74, and 67), 35.

Mass Incarceration 
24. Begin here: Heather Ann Thompson, “Why Mass Incarceration Matters: Rethinking Crisis, Decline, and Transformation in Postwar American History,” Journal of American History, 97 (2010): 703-734.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s