Seth Wenig / AP file
Police officers talk with a woman who had her phone stolen in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013. A federal judge's stinging rebuke of the police department's stop-and-frisk policy as discriminatory could usher in a return to the days of high violent crime rates and end New York's tenure as "America's safest big city," Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned.
New York City officials say they are ready to begin their appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that a controversial NYPD tactic known as “stop and frisk” violates the constitutional rights of blacks and Hispanics.
Michael Cardozo, corporate counsel of the New York City Law Department, said they will file a notice of appeal on Friday.
The announcement comes just three days after U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled the way that the way “stop and frisk” is administered is a violation of the federal rights of minorities guaranteed to them by the Constitution.
"As the mayor and Police Commissioner Kelly said on Monday, we strongly disagree with Judge Scheindlin's order. We said we'd take immediate steps to appeal, and we plan to do so tomorrow,” Cardoza said in a statement.
Outlining the actual substance of the objection will be the next step in the appeals process. It remains to be seen if city officials will ask for a stay of the judge’s order while the appeal is pending.
Shortly after Monday’s ruling, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly denounced the judge’s decision, saying it jeopardizes the progress Bloomberg’s administration has made in fighting crime in America’s largest city.
“Crime can come back anytime the criminals think that they’re going to get away with things. We just cannot let that happen,” the mayor said. Over the course of his nearly 12 years leading the city, the New York’s murder rate has fallen by half.
The tactic in question allows police to stop and pat down ("frisk") anyone they deem suspicious. Scheindlin found it was used 4.4 million times between 2004 and 2012, and that 80 percent of the stops were of blacks and Hispanics.
In her ruling, she wrote, “In their zeal to defend a policy that they believe to be effective, they have willfully ignored overwhelming proof that the policy of targeting ‘the right people’ is racially discriminatory and therefore violates the United States Constitution.”
NBC's Erin McClam contributed to this report.
First published August 15 2013, 2:29 PM