District Attorney Seth Williams, Philadelphia Lawyer Spar Off on City's Stop and Frisk Record

Leo M. Mulvihill, Jr, a lawyer in Philly's Fishtown area, challenges the DA's defense of the controversial use of "stop-and-frisk" by Philly police - even as a new study shows the policy remains a significant problem. Disclosure: Mulvihill represented curator of this piece in court recently.


  1. WHYY's Newsworks runs a story this morning on continued problems with the police department's "stop-and-frisk" policy.
  2. Mulvihill, noting DA Williams' use of phrases like "most violent neighborhoods" and "most violent groups", calls him out on this.
  3. Here's the above-quoted ACLU of Pennsylvania's report on racial profiling and stop-and-frisk from March 19th, 2013. The report reveals:

    "The overall number of stops has decreased by nearly 15%. However, there is still a very high rate of stops and frisks - about 45% - made without reasonable suspicion. African-Americans and Latinos continue to be stopped at higher rates, with 76% of the stops and 85% of the frisks targeting minorities."
  4. Mulvihill then proceeds to cite statistics from this report, again giving Williams' a link to the report:
  5. Mulvihill then adds in response to the DA's assertion that he supports "constitutional police work":
  6. As of today, the District Attorney has yet to reply to Mulvihill's question on the actual efficacy of Williams' self-asserted advances in gun control, although this morning the DA did tout a new finding that Philadelphia's homicide rate has declined in the early part of 2013:
  7. We'll update this important conversation on public policy as or if it develops.