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Abstract

This Article argues that in formulating standards for stops and frisks, courts, police department and other policy makers should consider: whether and to what extent blacks are more frequently stopped and frisked than whites, whether and to what extent this disparity reflects police racial bias, and the nature and extent of the results negative effects. The Article provides an overview of the decision in US v. Terry and its impact on subsequent case law. It focuses on Terry's ambivalent position on race relations, and posits that its empirical contention about the law's inevitable inefficacy against racist abuse of the stop and frisk power is grounded in an unrealistic model of police motivation. The Article argues that racial impact should be taken into account in both the legal and administrative delimitation of the stop and frisk power.

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