NEW YORK — The controversial policing strategy known as "stop, question and frisk" was a central topic of conversation during the first presidential debate Monday night as Republican candidate Donald Trump suggested the policy should be employed nationwide, despite it having been virtually eliminated in New York City and deemed unconstitutional years ago by a federal judge.
Trump suggested stop-and-frisk could cut down on gun violence and killings in inner cities. It was brought up during a question about improving race relations in the U.S.
"Almost 4,000 have been killed [in Chicago] since Barack Obama became president," Trump said. "We have to bring back law and order. Whether or not in a place like Chicago you can stop-and-frisk, it did very well in New York. It bought the crime way down."
Clinton disagreed with her opponent, deriding the practice as racist.
"Stop and frisk was found to be unconstitutional — in part because it was ineffective," Clinton said.
A federal judge in 2013 ruled the city's stop-and-frisk policy violated constitutional rights. As part of a 195-page decision, Judge Shira A. Scheindlin at the time said the policy encourages the targeting of young minority men based on how frequently they appear in crime complaints, making it a form of racial profiling.
Testimony in the case revealed there were 4.43 million police stops between 2004 and mid-2012, with about 88 percent of those ending without arrest or issuing a ticket.
NYPD spokesman J. Peter Donald jumped into the conversation, saying "crime, murder and shootings" have decreased significantly during the same time the department has reduced its use of stop, question and frisk.
Former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who served as NYPD commissioner under the administration of Rudy Giuliani, an outspoken supporter of Trump, defended the use of stop-and-frisk.