Nightly News   |  August 12, 2013

NYPD ‘stop and frisk’ policy declared unconstitutional

On Monday a federal judge described New York City’s policy of searching anyone who acts suspiciously as “indirect racial profiling” that singles out people of color. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> tonight a federal judge has come down hard in one of the most controversial police tactics in the country. ordering changes to new york city 's so-called stop and frisk policy. the judge said it unfairly targets large numbers of minorities stopped by police with no good reason to suspect them of a crime. supporters say it's an important crime-fighting tool that has brought violent crime down to historic lows. nbc's stephanie gosk is in times square tonight with more.

>> reporter: good evening. crime continues to drop here in new york city , including here in times square . mayor bloomberg is saying the policy of stop and frisk , bhaut he calls good policing other people are calling racial profiling and those people tonight want a big legal victory. mayor michael bloomberg says the city of new york has become the poster child for fighting crime.

>> today we have fewer guns, fewer shootings and fewer homicides.

>> reporter: but today a federal judge called the nypd's policy of stop, question and frisk unconstitutional. the practice allowed police officers to stop and search anyone acting suspiciously. in a nearly 200-page decision the judge said the city adopted a policy of indirect racial profiling . those who are routinely subjected to stops are overwhelmingly people of color, and they are justifiably troubled to be singled out. statistics presented in court show between 2004 and 2012 there were 4.43 million stops. 52% were black suspects. 31% were hispanics. but the city argued during the trial that those numbers are a reflection of crime statistics , not racial profiling .

>> we do not engage in racial profiling , and it is prohibited by law and it is prohibited by our own regulations.

>> reporter: the rule sdg not outlaw stop and frisk altogether but it calls for a number of changes including an independent monitor of the nypd and a requirement that some officers wear video cameras to record stops. critics of stop and frisk still want it.

>> people we've talked with agree being stop and frisk reported a feeling of humiliati humiliation, almost an alien in your own community. being an eternal suspect always suspected of being a criminal.

>> reporter: bloomberg is not backing down from the fight.

>> the public are not experts as policing. personal i i would rather have ray kelly decide how to keep my family safe.

>> reporter: mayor bloomberg says he did not get a fair trial with this judge and they're going to appeal. you can bet mayors across the country will watch the case very closely.

>> steph li gosk in times