By Steve Kastenbaum, CNN
New York (CNN) – Every time a cop car slows down near him, Djibril Toure worries that he’s about to be stopped and questioned. Not because he did anything wrong – the 39-year-old businessman and activist was born and raised in New York, attended Cornell University and said he’s never committed a crime.
But New York police are allowed to stop and question anyone on the street if they have a reasonable suspicion that the person was involved in illegal activity, is about to commit a crime or is carrying a gun. The policy is known as “stop, question and frisk.” Close to 700,000 of the searches took place in New York last year, a record number.
Proponents say it’s an effective tool that has contributed to a historically low murder rate in New York. Critics say it’s racial profiling. More often than not, the people stopped are black or Hispanic males, according to New York Police Department statistics.