Bill de Blasio, the leading candidate to become the next New York City mayor, plans to drop the city's legal challenge to sweeping court-ordered reforms to its police stop-and-frisk program, a person close to the campaign said on Friday.
On Thursday, a U.S. appeals court ruled that the judge who found the police tactic unconstitutional had "ran afoul" of the judicial code of conduct and froze her ruling from taking effect.
The ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was at least a temporary victory for Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city's police department. The city has argued that stopping and frisking suspicious people has led to a steep decline in crime.
The ruling did not address the merits of the case and was instead a rebuke of U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin, who ruled two months ago the tactic amounted to "indirect racial profiling" that resulted in the disproportionate and discriminatory stopping of blacks and Hispanics.
The judges faulted Scheindlin for failing to appear impartial in public statements and media interviews in which she answered critics of her ruling.
On Friday, the De Blasio campaign declined to address specific questions about what his strategy will be if he is elected mayor on Nov. 5, as is widely expected, and assumes leadership of City Hall in January.
"Bill de Blasio has made it abundantly clear that on day one as mayor he will work to end the overuse and misuse of stop and frisk," said Eric Koch, a spokesman for the Democratic candidate, in a statement. "The stop-and-frisk-era has eroded the trust and relationship between communities and police officers, making it harder for cops to do their jobs and keep neighborhoods safe."
Recent polls have de Blasio leading his Republican opponent Joe Lhota 68 to 23 percent.
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