Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump called Wednesday for an expansion of stop-and-frisk encounters with police, a tactic that has been controversial in Baltimore and that a federal court in New York found unconstitutional.
Speaking during a Fox News town hall, Trump pointed to New York City's experience with the policy, saying it worked "incredibly well." Not mentioned was a federal court ruling in 2013 that raised constitutional questions about the practice, which was later largely abandoned by New York officials.
"I would do stop and frisk. I think you have to," Trump said in response to a question from an African American audience member about what he would do as president to stop violence in the black community.
"We did it in New York, it worked incredibly well. You have to be proactive," Trump said to applause. "I think stop-and-frisk — in New York City it was so incredible the way it worked."
Trump's comments were the latest in a series of tough-on-crime pronouncements he has made since securing the nomination this year — and they come in the context of a broader effort by his campaign to court African American voters.
Yet African Americans and other minority groups have been disproportionately affected by stop and frisk.
Baltimore was dinged this summer by the U.S. Department of Justice for "widespread" unconstitutional frisks in the department's report on city police practices.
"Suspicionless frisks have been a common feature of BPD's street enforcement efforts," the report found.
Democrats criticized Trump's comments late Wednesday.
"These policies erode trust between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve. Plus, they have proven to be ineffective," Baltimore Rep. Elijah E. Cummings said in a statement.
"As we continue to debate the role of police in our communities, we must emphasize policies that will repair the damaged relationship between police departments and the communities they serve, and policies that will enable our officers to effectively keep our streets safe,” he said.