‘Stop and frisk’ challenge of NYPD begins in court

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]Should the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy get an overhaul?

It’s a question a federal judge will consider in a highly anticipated trial that starts Monday.

The trial marks one of the biggest tests of the city’s stop-and-frisk tactics to date.  The trial will determine if the NYPD has been unconstitutionally stopping black and Hispanic males on city streets during the past decade.

The tactic, which police say is effective in getting guns off the streets and reducing murders, is vehemently opposed by many members of the community who say they are often stopped and frisked for no reason other than the color of their skin.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly are defending the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policies.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly are defending the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policies.

More than 5 million  people have been frisked since 2004.

In this case, which is the result of a class-action lawsuit, the court will hear testimony from current and former police officers and a dozen minorities who say they have been stopped numerous times.

More than 100 people are slated to testify in the trial which is expected to run well into May.

The mayor and police commissioner defend the policy, saying that it has saved thousands of lives in the very communities that are complaining about it. But the lawsuit asks the judge to come up with a way for the process to include community input into ways to change the program and to appoint a monitor to make sure the NYPD’s policies are constitutional.

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