Mayor Bloomberg vows to appeal New York City stop-and-frisk ruling

August 13, 2013 4:38:54 AM PDT
The fallout from the federal ruling on New York City's controversial stop and frisk policy isn't over.

On Monday, a federal judge ruled that the program needs sweeping changes and monitoring, in part, because it's discriminatory.

Now, two Brooklyn City Councilmen will call for an override of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's veto of the Community Safety Act, which would have installed an inspector general to review NYPD policies.

Meantime, Bloomberg is vowing to appeal the judge's decision. He warned the ruling 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." "This is a dangerous decision made by a judge who I think does not understand how policing works and what is compliant with the U.S. Constitution as determined by the Supreme Court," Bloomberg said. "I worry for my kids, and I worry for your kids. I worry for you and I worry for me. Crime can come back any time the criminals think they can get away with things. We just cannot let that happen."

Bloomberg said police have done exactly what the courts and constitution allow to keep the city safe, reiterating the tactic was one tool that has helped drive down crime to record lows. The ruling could result, he said, in a return to the days of crime and mayhem, when murders hit an all-time high of 2,245 in 1990. Killings hit an all-time low of 418 in 2012.

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin refused to hear testimony on crime rates, and her ruling skewered the city's defense of the practice and argument that it effectively polices itself.

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.

About half the people who are stopped are subject only to questioning. Others have their bag or backpack searched, and sometimes police conduct a full pat-down. Only 10 percent of all stops result in arrest, and a weapon is recovered a small fraction of the time.

Scheindlin noted she was not putting an end to the practice, which is constitutional, but was reforming the way the NYPD implemented its stops.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)