Stop and frisk is when police “temporarily” detain somebody and pat down their outer clothing when there are specific articulate facts leading a reasonable police officer to believe a person is armed and dangerous. It is not necessary for the officer to articulate or identify a specific crime they think is being committed, only that a set of factual circumstances exist that would lead a reasonable officer to have a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is occurring. “Reasonable suspicion” is one step below “probable cause” and one step above a hunch.
A “frisk” by definition is a type of search that requires a “lawful stop”. It is best thought of as a separate act, but in practice, a suspect who refuses to answer questions in a stop may be providing the officer with sufficient justification to frisk. A frisk should not be for anything other than a dangerous weapon or contraband. However, if other evidence, like a suspected drug container, is felt, it can be seized by the officer under the “plain feel” doctrine. The test for “plain feel” is that the item’s contraband nature be “immediately apparent”.
One of several problems with stop & frisk, is that most if not all Police demand name, address, question people of colour when in upper income communities and or assume gang affiliation least we talk about the percentage of Black Latino Asian or Caucasian men&women being stopped on a daily basis … is it a quota, a civil rights issue, a misuse or abuse of power ~ Nativergrl77