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Federal Judge Rules Stop-And-Frisks In Private Buildings Unconstitutional

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A federal judge Tuesday struck down the practice known as "stop-and-frisk" in one case limited to private buildings in the Bronx. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.

Officers in the Grand Concourse neighborhood of the Bronx patrol the buildings as part of an NYPD program known as Clean Halls.

"This is not heaven. They do have crime around here," Bronx resident Channon Lilly said. "This is, quote unquote, what they call one of the hoods."

Officers come in at the landlord's request and make stop-and-frisks as part of their patrols.

Many people -- some who preferred not to have their faces shown -- say they've experienced that practice all too often.

"Within a month period it would be like three to four times," one man said. "Last month it was like twice."

But Tuesday, a federal court judge ruled stop-and-frisks at these Bronx buildings unconstitutional.

It's one of three cases being heard challenging the controversial practice.

The New York Civil Liberties Union, which has been fighting stop-and-frisk, applauded the decision as a milestone.

"We're gratified and very very hopeful that this is a turning point with regard to stop-and-frisk, and that we're going to see a change," Donna Lieberman, NYCLU executive director, said.

Residents we spoke with had differing opinions on whether stop-and-frisk is fair -- or whether it's even working.

"I think that's awful," Bronx resident Willie Hayes said. I" think that should have stayed the way it is."

"You cannot violate a small amount of people in order to save another amount of people," Lilly said.

But some we spoke with say stop-and-frisks could be effective -- in some circumstances.

One thing those who live here do agree on is that officers don't come into the building very often. They say that's where their services would be best utilized.

"The smoking and the drinking, they should really take that to their own house, one resident said. "They do it right in the hallway. On the weekends they're here until two, three, four o'clock in the morning,"

In a statement, the city says the judge's decision unnecessarily interferes with the Department's efforts.

This is only a preliminary injunction, so the city will get a chance to argue against it in the coming months and two other cases that are also making their way through the courts.

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