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Police and Civil Liberties

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"There are no people in Philadelphia who don't know that stop-and-frisk is at work," he said, calling criminals "hypersensitive" to the city's efforts to eradicate illegal guns.

Gillison said that complaints about improper stops have actually gone down since the stepped-up policy began, with 300 complaints the first year and only 120 complaints last year.

He encouraged those who feel that police officers have been rude or otherwise behaved inappropriately to file a complaint. But people shouldn't fault the stop-and-frisk policy if their real concern is the quality of the contact with a police officer, he said.

"My issue has been, please just don't sit on your complaints and think that something different is going to happen," Gillison said. "We have to change the culture of the expectation of how police officers are supposed to treat citizens in this city."

Critics of stop-and-frisk are questioning whether citizens' civil liberties are being infringed.

David Rudovsky, a civil-rights attorney, noted that statistics reveal that "it's largely minorities, and within that, it's mainly young black men, hugely disproportionate to their numbers in the population."

Rudovsky said that he is working with the ACLU's Pennsylvania chapter to monitor the policy.

"By the police department's own stats, the numbers have jumped quite dramatically . . . yet the number of people, as a result, who are either arrested or found to have some kind of illegal object on them has been very, very small," Rudovsky said.

William Carter, a professor at Temple Law School, who stressed that he doesn't know the facts of what happened on Franklin Street, added that accusations of "overly aggressive policing of minority communities" are usually discussed in terms of civil rights or racial issues.

But Carter said that that may not be the best way to look at the issue.

"It's simply bad policing to police a community in a way that the community feels that it's constantly under suspicion," Carter said. "If the community distrusts you, then the everyday situations, like [on Franklin Street], can spiral out of control.

"There's a thin line between establishing the proper kind of control and authority versus being perceived as establishing disrespect and suspicion of everyone in that community."

Carter suggested that had the block party occurred in another neighborhood, say, Chestnut Hill, rather than in Logan, "The police would have approached the gathering more respectfully. They would not assume there was some underlying criminal activity that could be dangerous.

"And even if the police officers did act disrespectfully, the community [in Chestnut

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