CINCINNATI — In the wake of a violent summer in Cincinnati that saw several instances of teens or young children being shot and killed, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said he’s focused on getting guns off the streets – even if it means temporarily detaining someone using a stop-and-frisk method.
“If you think somebody is carrying, you have every right to stop and frisk them,” Deters said. “Every right.”
He said renewed calls for activism around the community simply aren’t working.
“These are all very well-intentioned people in the community trying to stop it, but the people they need to talk to – they aren’t listening – and they don’t care,” Deters said.
He said a stop-and-frisk approach by officers against anyone suspected of committing a crime would help cut down on the violence.
“It’s not racist,” Deters said. “I don’t care what color they are. If you think a white guy walking downtown is carrying an illegal gun, pat them down. For our own safety, you’re allowed to do that.”
He said his idea is based on New York City’s stop-and-frisk policy. At its height in 2011, 91% of stops were people of color.
Pastor Damon Lynch III of the New Prospect Baptist Church said he wants to see an end to gun violence – but he said the stop-and-frisk policy focuses on racial profiling and that’s not the solution.
“If we did do that in this city, it would be extremely detrimental and cause police/community relationships to go down the toilet,” Lynch said.
Iris Roley helped reform the Cincinnati Police Department in 2001 by working on the original collaborative agreement. She believes any stop-and-frisk policy would go against the language and spirit of the collaborative agreement.
“The city would end up with multiple Fourth Amendment rights lawsuits if we implement stop-and-frisk,” Lynch said. “What it does is classifies an entire segment of the population as a criminal segment.”
In the days following the deaths of Milo Watson and Dexter Wright, Lynch said now is the time to work on coming together.
“It’s work with the community,” he said. “That’s what they’ve been saying. They’ve stood at podiums the past few days. We need the community to step up, the ministers, the moms.”
Lynch said they’ll be having a community round table discussion on the topic on Saturday.