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New York seeks to halt 'stop-and-frisk' reforms while it appeals court ruling

Demonstrators march during a protest in New York June 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer
Demonstrators march during a protest in New York June 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

By Bernard Vaughan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City asked a federal judge on Tuesday to freeze the implementation of police reforms she ordered while it appeals her decision striking down the department's controversial "stop-and-frisk" policy backed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin deemed the crime-fighting tactic unconstitutional because it targeted racially defined groups.

She also ordered the appointment of an independent monitor to oversee several reforms, including a trial program for police to use body cameras.

Her remedies addressed lawsuits brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights.

The city is appealing her decision to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In a letter dated on Tuesday, it said her decision was "rife with errors of law" that could be corrected on appeal, where the remedies she ordered could be overturned.

"Implementation of the broad-sweeping panoply of remedies based on such errors are likely to cause irreparable harm to defendants and the public safety," city lawyers Heidi Grossman and Linda Donahue wrote in the letter.

The city added that implementing the body camera pilot project "poses significant harm in terms of time, resources and possible impingement on privacy rights of the public."

Bloomberg has defended stop-and-frisk, saying it has helped drastically reduce crime during his nearly 12-year tenure.

The cases are David Floyd et al v. The City of New York, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 08-1034; and Ligon v. The City of New York, in the same court, 12-2274.

(Reporting by Bernard Vaughan; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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