Insidious Police Practice: The ‘Jump-Out’
[su_right_ad]It’s described as worse than “stop and frisk.”
Just what is a jump-out? It depends who you ask. It is typically described as multiple officers patrolling in an unmarked car, who at some point see something suspicious, and jump out of the car at once on unsuspecting pedestrians, with the intent of catching them off guard. Overwhelmingly, the jump-outs that have been reported involve at least one black male. DC Ferguson describes it as a “paramilitary tactic in which unmarked police vehicles carry 3 or more officers not wearing the standard police uniform. Their objective is to stop and intimidate ordinary citizens into submitting to interrogation or an unwarranted search.”
In some of the most egregious descriptions, cops are alleged to have drawn their weapons to do so. In others, they will allegedly manhandle, shove, or slam the suspects, frisk the suspects, or aggressively question the suspects in a manner that makes it seem as if they have no choice but to answer.
“We realized that it’s pretty much our stop and frisk,” said Kenny Nero, a co-founder of DC Ferguson.
[su_thin_right_skyscraper_ad]The D.C. Police Department hardly acknowledges the term at all. When asked about jump-outs by ThinkProgress, Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said, “Oh god, the fantasy jump-out squads,” explaining that “jump-outs” are a now-defunct police tactic used in the 1980s and 1990s to conduct undercover drug stings. But during a police oversight hearing following the interview, Lanier qualified her comments, acknowledging that officers do occasionally jump out of unmarked cars in drug cases, although qualifying that it’s very rare, and that she wouldn’t call it a “jump-out.”…
On multiple occasions when asked about jump-outs, Lanier emphasized that there are more than 20 different law enforcement authorities policing the city, including the capitol police, park police, metro police, and federal authorities, and that she cannot account for tactics they may use that resemble a jump-out.
Seema Sadanandan, policy and advocacy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital, has balked at Lanier’s claim that the tactics she described are “rarely used” by MPD. “The Chief’s assertions are directly contradicted by the experiences of hundreds of District residents who have interacted with the Metropolitan Police Department’s Vice Unit officers, who are often traveling in unmarked cars and utilize a ‘jump-out’ tactic to initiate the contact,” she told ThinkProgress. Sadanandan said she has heard “hundreds of anecdotal stories” over the past few years during community meetings and trainings.