NYPD officers oversee a demonstration against stop and frisk. (Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

A federal judge has ruled that the stop-and-frisk tactics of the New York Police Department — under which mostly black and Hispanic people have been questioned by police — have violated the constitutional rights of New Yorkers, according to the New York Times.

The decision calls for a federal monitor to oversee broad reform to the highly controversial program and is a major development in the racially charged national debate that surrounds it:

 In a decision issued on Monday, the judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, ruled that police officers have for years been systematically stopping innocent people in the street without any objective reason to suspect them of wrongdoing. Officers often frisked these people, usually young minority men, for weapons or searched their pockets for contraband, like drugs, before letting them go, according to the 195-page decision.

These stop-and-frisk episodes, which soared in number over the last decade as crime continued to decline, demonstrated a widespread disregard for the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government, according to the ruling. It also found violations with the 14th Amendment.

To fix the constitutional violations, Judge Scheindlin of Federal District Court in Manhattan said she intended to designate an outside lawyer, Peter L. Zimroth, to monitor the Police Department's compliance with the Constitution. 


Read more at the New York Times.