Condemn French Courts for Upholding Stop and Frisk Laws

French Police

Target: Judges of France’s Ministry of Justice

Goal: Condemn French courts for upholding abusive and invasive stop and frisk laws

Like New York City, France has their own version of Stop and Frisk. They are more arbitrary because citizens can be stopped and searched by police without any suspicion of criminal behavior. There is also a lack of transparency in these searches, in which there is no system to record these incidents. Police are not required to give a written citation with a reason for their search. Minorities, primarily Arabs and African Americans, have been targeted by police. Children as young as 13 are subjected to these humiliating searches. Complaints of disrespectful and unprofessional behavior of police during these searches, have also been a source of contention.

French courts have dismissed 13 cases of complaints by citizens for unwarranted stop and frisk incidents, and accusations of racial profiling. The courts concluded that the plaintiffs failed to prove “gross negligence” by the police. They went on to say that the officers have done everything within the legal boundaries. However, statistical evidence suggests otherwise.

According to a study conducted by France’s National Center for Scientific Research and the Open Society Justice Initiative, African Americans are 6 more times likely to be searched by police than their Caucasian counterparts. While Arabs were 8 times more likely. France’s decision to uphold stop and frisk will corrode the integrity and public trust of the police.

Public relations with youth living in low income housing projects have been dismal. It is also an indication of France’s increasingly Islamophobic social climate. President Francois Hollande’s campaign promise was to stop racial profiling and unwarranted, invasive searches, but he seems to have reneged. The judges have turned a blind eye to ethnic profiling with this ruling.

Sign this petition to condemn French courts for upholding a law that is unproductive in stopping crime and an assault on civil rights.


Dear Judges of France’s Ministry of Justice,

Arbitrary arrests will have a negative impact on society. These incidents accumulates hatred and distrust of police. Although the world has been on edge after September 11th and subsequent terrorist attacks, there is a much needed calm and deescalation of knee jerk surveillance laws that violate personal freedoms. There should also be an audit of the police forces. There have been reports of misconduct. Such serious allegations should not go under the radar. Punitive measures must be taken against those who exploit their position of authority.

It is essential to have a system of transparency and accountability. Not requiring a police report for these unlawful stop and searches will only increase abusive practices by police. The police should not be above the law nor should France break with international, civil rights norms.


[Your Name Here]

Image Credit: conner395 via Flickr

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65 Signatures

  • Alice Rim
  • Muhammad Kamal
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  • James Thrailkill
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