A U.S. judge says the New York Police Department's controversial "stop-and-search" policy intentionally discriminates based on race and has violated the rights of tens of thousands of people.
Police say they have made about five-million stops during the past decade, mostly of black and Hispanic men. The judge said the the practice has become "a fact of daily life in some New York City neighborhoods," but is flawed because "the stopped population is overwhelmingly innocent, not criminal.''
She said she was not putting an end to the policy, but is reforming it and ordered a court monitor to oversee its use.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly say the practice, officially known as stop, question and frisk, has driven down violent crime and limited the number of illegal guns being carried on the streets of New York.
City lawyers argued the police department does a good jobof monitoring itself.
Legal experts say the ruling on the nation's largest police department may affect how other U.S. police departments operate.