A federal judge's ruling that New York City's "stop-and-frisk" law equates racial profiling is an "offensive" indictment of the city's police officers, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said on Sunday.
"The judge in this case has indicted the entire police department, almost 36,000 police officers, for racial profiling based on what we believe is very flimsy information, flimsy evidence," Kelly told CBS "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer.
Federal judge Shira Scheindlin ruled last week that the NYPD used a "policy of indirect racial profiling" while increasing the number of stops in minority communities, reported The New York Times.
Scheindlin said "stop and frisk" led to officers routinely stopping "blacks and Hispanics who would not have been stopped if they were white."
Kelly said "the plaintiff's expert looks at 4.4 million stops. Out of that number of stops over a 10-year period, the expert working for the plaintiff found 6 percent to be unjustified."
In addition, he said, Scheindlin herself looked at 19 of the questionable stops and found that 10 of those were acceptable.
NAACP President Ben Jealous, on NBC's "Meet the Press," said that Kelly's words "should send chills down the spine of everyone in this country."
"We just heard a man who aspires to be the head of the Department of Homeland Security say that his officers have to violate the U.S. Constitution to make us safer," Jealous said. Kelly disagreed that the stop and frisk violates the constitution.
Jealous said, "We are now at a point where you have more stop and frisks of young black men in New York City than there are young black men in New York City."
Kelly said "stop-and-frisk" laws save lives by allowing police to stop a person who suspect is either about to commit a crime or who has committed one, and the practice is used across the United States, not only in New York City.
Kelly denied that his department is racially profiling anyone, saying that the NYPD is "the most diverse police department in the United States. We have police officers born in 88 countries ... The last police academy class had graduates born in 50 or more countries. So we are, as I say, very much diverse and we look like the city that we police."
If the court's ruling stands, Kelly contended, it will actually harm minorities.
"Ninety-seven percent of the shooting victims in New York City last year were people of color -- black or Latino," he said.
In the past 11 full years that Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been in office and the stop-and-frisk rules were in effect, there were "7,363 less murders" than in the 11 years before Bloomberg took over, said Kelly.
Jealous said the drop in crime cited by Kelly started before 2002 and the increase in stop and frisk didn't start until after 2002, so the two are not related. He said the policy is making children in minority neighborhoods afraid not only of criminals, but also of the police.
However, Kelly quoted a Centers for Disease Control study that found New York City has the lowest number of teenagers carrying guns.
Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison said on ABC's "This Week" that he is hopeful Kelly will listen to the concerns of the judge and the minority community.
"The reality is, is that police need the goodwill of the citizens in order to be more effective in law enforcement, and if this program is breeding resentment and distrust, it hurts the goal of law enforcement," Ellison said.
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