The Amendment Protection Against Unreasonable Search And Seizures

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Michael Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in Staten Island, Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Walter Scott in North Charleston and, most recently, Freddie Gray in Baltimore have dominated the headlines this entire school year. These men and their stories provide the basis for claims of racially discriminatory treatment of African Americans at the hands of the police. It is true that each of the stories surrounding these men is different, but the one unifying theme is that police around the country are interpreting our Constitutional rights in a way that is insufficient to protect African Americans and the population in general. This paper will explore one Constitutional right— the 4th Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizures--and examine how one Supreme Court decision that narrowed the scope of the 4th Amendment and unintentionally created a mechanism by which the rights of citizens could be unfairly impeded by police. On June 10 1968, the United States Supreme Court sided with the government in the case Terry v Ohio, and held that the practice of “stop and frisk” was within the bounds of the 4th Amendment and therefore constitutional. On October 31, 1963, while walking a routine beat in Cleveland, Ohio, Officer Martin McFadden noticed a group of three African American men acting suspiciously outside of a jewelry store. After watching them walk by the store and reconvene almost 24 times, McFadden approached the group, identified himself as an officer and

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