Donald Trump praises 'stop-and-frisk' police tactic

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CLEVELAND, Sept 21 (Reuters) - U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would consider using "stop-and-frisk" policing methods to cut crime if elected, according to two people who attended a Fox News "town hall" taping at a predominantly African-American church in Cleveland.

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With the race tightening between Trump and Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton in the final weeks before the Nov. 8 election, the Republican candidate recently began wooing African-American voters.

Stop-and-frisk, however, has been the target of protests and successful legal challenges in New York and other big American cities in recent years as a tactic that unfairly singles out minority citizens and violates their civil rights.

37 PHOTOS
Donald Trump through the years
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Donald Trump through the years
Real estate developer Donald Trump annouces intentions to build a $100 million dollar Regency Hotel. (Photo by John Pedin/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 02: Donald Trump with Alfred Eisenpreis, New York City Economic Development Administrator. Sketch of new 1,400 room Renovation project of Commodore Hotel. (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - 1980: Donald Trump and Ivana Trump attend Roy Cohn's birthday party in February 1980 in New York City. (Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 26: Donald Trump stands behind architect's model of City Hall Plaza. (Photo by Frank Russo/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Donna Mills and Donald Trump during 1983 Annual American Image Awards at Sheraton Center in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Portrait of real estate mogul Donald John Trump (b.1946), smiling slightly and facing to his right, 1983. New York. (Photo by Bachrach/Getty Images)
New York real estate magnates Steve Ross, right, and Donald Trump, left, announce agreement, Thursday, August 1, 1985 in New York, to merge the Houston Gamblers and the New Jersey Generals United States Football League teams. Ross heads a group of investors that last week agreed to buy the troubled Houston franchise. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler)
Real estate magnate Donald Trump poses in front of one of three Sikorsky helicopters at New York Port Authority's West 30 Street Heliport on March 22, 1988. (AP Photo/Wilbur Funches)
Ivana Trump and Donald Trump during Mike Tyson vs Michael Spinks Fight at Trump Plaza - June 27, 1988 at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Donald Trump and his wife, Ivana, pose outside the Federal Courthouse after she was sworn in as a United States citizen, May 1988. (AP Photo)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 4: Billionaire Donald Trump and his wife Ivana arrive 04 December 1989 at a social engagement in New York. (Photo credit should read SWERZEY/AFP/Getty Images)
Shown in photo is Donald Trump, Nov. 20, 1990. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Billionaire developer Donald Trump, right, waits with his brother Robert for the start of a Casino Control Commission meeting in Atlantic City, N.J., March 29, 1990. Trump was seeking final approval for the Taj Mahal Casino Resort, one of the world's largest casino complexes. (AP Photo)
Developer Donald Trump, center, is flanked by super middleweight champion Thomas Hearns, left, of Detroit, and Michael Olajide of Canada at a news conference in New York Thursday, Feb. 15, 1990. The three announced the super middleweight title bout at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort at Atlantic city, N. J on April 28.(AP Photo/Timothy Clary)
Real estate magnate Donald Trump and his girlfriend Marla Maples are seen at the Holyfield-Foreman fight at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, N.J., April 19, 1991. (AP Photo)
Donald Trump and Daughter Ivanka Trump during Maybelline Presents 1991 Look of the Year at Plaza Hotel in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 7: Donald Trump touches 07 April 1993 Marla Maples stomach to confirm published reports that the actress is pregnant with his child. The two arrived for Maples appearance in the Broadway musical 'The Will Rogers Follies'. (Photo credit should read HAI DO/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 21: US business tycoon Donald Trump(C) enters the PLaza Hotel in New York past supporters 21 December 1994. Hundreds of supporters showed up at a news conference where Trump denied a New York newspaper report that the Sultan of Brunei had bid 300 million USD to buy the Manhattan hotel. (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE--This is a 1994 file photo of Donald Trump. Trump said Wednesday, Oct. 23, 1996 he has bought the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen beauty pageants from ITT. ``It's a done deal,'' Trump said in a telephone interview. ``It's a very, very great entertainment format. It gets very high ratings, it's doing very well and we'll make it even better.'' Trump declined to say how much he paid. Asked if a New York Post source was correct in saying the deal was worth tens of millions of dollars, Trump replied, ``Why not? (AP Photo/Jim Cooper)
FLUSHING MEADOWS, UNITED STATES: Donald Trump and his girlfriend Celina Midelfar watch Conchita Martinez and Amanda Coetzer 07 September at US Open in Flushing Meadows, NY. AFP PHOTO Timothy CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Donald Trump and Christine Whitman during Opening of New Warner Bros. Store in Trump Plaza Casino at Trump Plaza Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
In this June 7, 1995 file photograph, Donald Trump is seen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange after taking his flagship Trump Plaza Casino public in New York City. Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc., based in Atlantic City, New Jersey, filed for Chapter 11 protection on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New Jersey. Trump and his daughter Ivanka resigned from the company's board Friday, Feb. 13, 2009, after growing frustrated with bondholders. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens,File)
Celine Dion, husband Rene, Donald Trump & Ivanka Trump (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Entrepreneur Donald Trump watches an undercard fight as an unidentified companion whispers into his ear before the start of the Mike Tyson versus Francois Botha bout at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, Saturday, Jan. 16, 1999. (AP Photo/Eric Draper)
Developer Donald Trump holds an umbrella as he walks Saturday, Nov. 9, 2002, to the 11th green of the Ocean Trail Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. Trump plans to turn the beleagured golf club into a world class course. Trump intends to close on the golf club by December and hopes to begin improvements by January. He could reopen the course, 20 miles south of Los Angeles, as early as June. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Entrepreneur Donald Trump (L) and Rev. Al Sharpton speak at a ribbon cutting ceremony for Sharpton's National Action Network Convention April 5, 2002 in New York City. The group aims to further the development of civil rights. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Donald Trump and his girlfriend Melania Knauss attend the Marc Bouwer/Peta Fall/Winter 2002 Collection show February 14, 2002 during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City. (Photo by George De Sota/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 06: WBC Kampf im Schwergewicht 2003, New York/Madison Square Garden; Vitali KLITSCHKO/UKR - Kirk JOHNSON/CAN; Donald TRUMP als Zuschauer (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10: Donald Trump stands on the sidelines before the start of the AFC divisional playoffs between the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans on January 10, 2004 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Temperatures have reached as low as 7 degrees in the Foxboro area. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
US tycoon Donald Trump arrives to speak at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, outside Washington, on February 27, 2015. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 10: Donald Trump speaks during the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum at the 2015 NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits on April 10, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. The annual NRA meeting and exhibit runs through Sunday. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 24: Real estate mogul and billionaire Donald Trump attends Golf legend Jack Nicklaus' Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda March 24, 2015 in Washington, DC. Trump announed on March 18 that he has launched a presidential exploratory committee. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - MAY 16: Businessman Donald Trump speaks to guests gathered for the Republican Party of Iowa's Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center on May 16, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The event sponsored by the Republican Party of Iowa gave several Republican presidential hopefuls an opportunity to strengthen their support among Iowa Republicans ahead of the 2016 Iowa caucus. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Developer Donald Trump displays a copy of his net worth during his announcement that he will seek the Republican nomination for president, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump gives a thumbs up before boarding his campaign plane to depart from Laredo, Texas, Thursday, July 23, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
AYR, SCOTLAND - JULY 30: Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump visits his Scottish golf course Turnberry with his children Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump on July 30, 2015 in Ayr, Scotland. Donald Trump answered questions from the media at a press conference. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
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In the tactic, officers stop pedestrians, question them and then search them for weapons or contraband.

At the town hall, Trump praised stop-and-frisk, according to an excerpt of the interview released by Fox News.

He made his statement in response to an audience member's question about what the New York businessman would do to reduce crime in predominantly black communities across the nation, said the two people, Geoff Betts and Connie Tucker.

Betts, 38, who is black, said he felt dismayed by Trump's response.

Tucker, who is white and supports Trump, said she sensed discomfort in the room when the candidate gave his answer.

"I felt like there was a pause," she said.

The town hall, moderated by Fox News anchor Sean Hannity, taping was closed to journalists. Betts and Tucker both described their experiences after it ended.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment about his statement, nor did Clinton's.

Trump has portrayed himself as the "law-and-order candidate." But Clinton has criticized many of his proposals as unconstitutional attacks on American freedoms.

According to Tucker, Trump said he liked stop-and-frisk because it had worked well during the administration of New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican who served from 1996 to Dec. 31, 2001 who is now a major Trump supporter. The tactic was supported by Giuliani's successor, Michael Bloomberg.

In appealing to African-American voters, Trump has lamented the woes of black communities in speeches and invited people who traditionally vote for Democratic candidates to take a chance on him. But his often-dire portrayals of life for African-Americans have fallen flat with some black voters.

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Anger over police tactics has escalated since the stop-and-frisk controversies, as the deaths of African-Americans, many of them unarmed, at the hands of police have sparked unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore and other cities.

The opposition to "stop-and-frisk" led police departments in New York, as well as Chicago and Newark, New Jersey to agree to cut back on its use, in some cases submitting to outside monitoring and improving police training. In New York, ending the practice was a key plank of Democrat Bill de Blasio's successful 2013 run for mayor.

Tucker, a pastor at Father Heart Ministries in Columbus, Ohio, said she liked policies that yielded results, so if stop-and-frisk helped reduce crime, she was for it.

Betts, a distributor of hair products, said he is registered to vote as an independent and that he attended the town hall because he was curious about what Trump would say to try to win over black voters. He said he thinks police unfairly discriminate against black citizens and he is against stop-and-frisk.

"We are victims," he said, adding he walked out of the town hall while it was still under way.

"I just couldn't take it anymore, I had to go," he said. "I don't think that Donald Trump gets it."

12 PHOTOS
Notable people who have spoken out against Donald Trump
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Notable people who have spoken out against Donald Trump

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

The Mayor did not hold back in this tweet:

"I didn’t realize this was in question. Behaves like a racist, speaks like a racist…of course @RealDonaldTrump is a racist."

 REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Martha Stewart

In an interview win CNNMoney Stewart said "There is so much to know and so much to learn and so much diplomacy and kindness and introspection that goes with that kind of job, and it does not exist in the world of Donald Trump."

REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian 

Stephen Hawking 

British physicist, Professor Stephen Hawking speaks during the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Paralympics in London, Wednesday Aug. 29, 2012. Hawking was interviewed on British TV Monday May 30, 2016, saying UK should stay inside the European Union because of its support for research, and he cannot fathom the popularity of presumptive candidate for U.S. president Donald Trump, saying he "seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator.”

(AP Photo/Matt Dunham, FILE)

George Clooney

In an interview with the Guardian the actor said this

"He's just an opportunist. Now he's a fascist; a xenophobic fascist."

(AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

John Oliver

The host of the Last week Tonight dedicated 20 minutes of his show to completely annihilate everything Trump stands for.

Click here to watch the Segment.

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

J.K. Rowling

The beloved author took to twitter and compared him to the worst of the worst, "How horrible. Voldemort was nowhere near as bad."

(Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

Robert De Niro

At the  22nd Sarajevo Film Festival Robert De Niro made his opinion very clear on what he thinks of Trump. "It's crazy that people like Donald Trump . . . he shouldn't even be where he is, so God help us"

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham spoke at the Democratic National Convention and had this to say about Trump. ""Donald and his party think I should be punished for exercising my constitutional rights, and his rhetoric about women takes us back to a time when we were meant to be beautiful and silent."

Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx 

Mark Ruffalo

 Ruffalo and many more stars have signed a petition entitled #UnitedagainstHate to stand against Donald Trump

REUTERS/Benoit Tessier 

America Ferrera

America Ferrera wrote an open letter on the HuffingtonPost to Donald Trump thanking him for his portrayal of Latin immigrants. In her letter she states "You, Mr. Trump, are living in an outdated fantasy of a bigoted America. Last week, America celebrated some amazing milestones — marriage equality, universal healthcare, removing of the confederate flag — making it clear in which direction the country is moving. That is why racist remarks that play to extremists won’t change the tide, no matter how hard you try. They will only serve to rally more Latino voters to the polls. Your negativity and your poorly thought out speech ignited a fire in our community. Thank you, Mr. Trump!"

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Sarah Silverman

In March 2016 Silverman tweeted this : 

"DRUMPF is NEGGING us and we've fallen for it - we're obsessed w this candidate we had no intention of ever acknowledging #TheGame'

(Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

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