Unreasonable searches are wrong

On Aug. 13 a federal Judge ruled a stop-and-frisk law in New York City was unconstitutional because 80 percent of the practice was used on minority groups, mostly African American and Latino. I personally think it’s unconstitutional everywhere.

Here in Parkersburg the minorities aren’t prevalent in neighborhoods where income is at or below the poverty level, it’s white poor people. Every low income neighborhood in Wood County is deemed “known drug activity areas.” If you are driving through these areas, that’s a reason to get pulled over.

If you are walking your dog, minding your own business, you can be stopped, questioned, searched and have a warrant check ran on you. My daughter was stopped three times in one evening. The first time her dog got off his leash. A police officer asked if she was out to steal a dog. Two hours later her 70-year-old grandmother who lives at Market Manor called her to see if my daughter could walk down and help her move a couch. Ten minutes after leaving Market Manor she was stopped and searched again. Five hours later while taking her dog to use the bathroom again, she was stopped again.

That was five years ago. Now, her fiancee has to walk to work. He works night shift, and at least two-three times a week it’s stop, search, ask 20 questions, etc. He’s been working and walking the same route for 16 months.

So, to me it’s all the same, black, Latino, poor. Who doesn’t get this treatment are those who are above the poverty level, who come to the poor neighborhoods to buy their drugs. Addiction doesn’t discriminate. But apparently it matters to Wood County law enforcement. They will arrest the upper class if they get stopped for a traffic offense, but to go to their neighborhoods and stop and frisk them walking their dogs – I don’t think so. The fact anyone is being stopped like this, is conceding we now have thought policing. If they “think” you may be doing something wrong they can stop and frisk you. This is clearly not in line with the Fourth Amendment.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Jennifer Exline

Parkersburg