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Parents and high school students learn their rights and responsibilities during a police “Stop and Frisk” encounter
9, 12, 11, 10
Title – Surviving Police Encounters
By – Khari Shabazz
Primary Subject – Other
Grade Level – High School
Police Interaction — Surviving the Police Encounter
Overview — Throughout the nation and in communities with the demographic composition similar to Harlem, encounters with law enforcement can be a negative experience for people of color. Unfortunately, Black and Latino communities use a disproportionate amount of police services when compared to their white counterparts. Residents often complain that police agencies over patrol their neighborhoods, while law enforcement officials maintain that officers are deployed to areas with the highest crime rate and request for police assistance. Until there is a resolution as to how police services should be better distributed, members of diverse communities will continue to come into contact with law enforcement.
In areas like Harlem, the two categories in which police officers encounter civilians are; 1) The vehicle and traffic stop and 2) The stop and frisk. During this module, we are going to outline and discuss the strategies needed to survive these encounters with minimal angst to the civilian and police officer.
Objective — With the information discussed during this class, civilians would better be able to understand their roles when confronted by a police officer. Students will not be expected to learn or know the law, and this class is not intended to turn the civilian into an expert on this subject. However, after this class, workshop participants should be able to pass on this information to other members of their community and particularly, their children. Moreover, students will learn techniques to make them better prepared to report police misconduct that they witness.
Materials — Television, VCR, chairs, table, and a chalkboard.
Introduction — Participants will view a tape produced by ABC’s television news program titled “Nightline.” The show is about the difficulties civilians encounter when wanting to file a complaint against a police officer alleging misconduct. After a discussion of the show, students will be asked to observe a routine vehicle and traffic stop. The instructor is a police officer that stops a car occupied by four people. After the scenario is played out, we will regroup and discuss what happened. The instructor will then begin the Stop and Frisk encounter — repeating the steps listed above.
Practice – After the group discussion, the parents will take turns role-playing as police officers and civilians as the instructor continues to supervise the process.
Review – A short question and answer session will take place. Each person will be called on to discuss and define some of the issues that were covered.
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