NEW YORK – The nation’s largest police department illegally and systematically singled out large numbers of blacks and Hispanics under its controversial stop-and-frisk policy, a federal judge ruled Monday while appointing an independent monitor to oversee major changes, including body cameras on some officers.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he would appeal the ruling, a stinging rebuke to a policy he and the New York Police Department have defended as a life-saving, crime-fighting tool that helped lead the city to historic crime lows.
Stop-and-frisk has been around for decades in some form, but recorded stops increased dramatically under the Bloomberg administration to an all-time high in 2011 of 684,330, mostly of black and Hispanic men. The lawsuit was filed in 2004 by four men, all minorities, and became a class-action case.
U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin noted she was not putting an end to the practice, which is constitutional, but was reforming the way the NYPD implemented its stops.