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Supervisors In Stop-And-Frisk Trial Deny Quota Pressures

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A federal trial to determine whether or not the New York City Police Department's use of stop, question and frisk is constitutional continued Friday with testimony from three different supervisors, who said there was no pressure from higher-ups to increase the number of stops from a data standpoint. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

Does pressure to boost statistics cause police to stop, question and frisk people, whether or not there's a real suspicion of a crime?

It's a question at the heart of the case in a federal court in Manhattan on the constitutionality of the stop-and-frisk policy.

In testimony Friday, three police department supervisors - a sergeant, a former precinct commander and a recently retired chief - all said no.

"We are not a police department that wants to do numbers for numbers sake," said Heidi Grossman of the New York City Law Department.

The department bosses also all testified that statistics, including the number of stop-and-frisks, are an important part of how they judge crime response.

A former borough commander testified that during monthly crime stat meetings with the department chief, they never analyzed or discussed the circumstances that led to the stops.

"They're not talking about the quality of those arrests, the quality of those summons, the quality of the 250s," said Jonathan Moore, an attorney for plaintiffs in the case. "They're not discussing in any kind of analytical way whether these are good stops or bad stops. It's about numbers."

There were more than 530,000 stop, question and frisk incidents last year, just 6 percent of which led to an arrest. But Chief Raymond Diaz, who retired in 2011, said he had never heard of an officer or supervisor reporting another officer for making an improper stop. His testimony was taken in 2009 and was read in court Friday.

The case was brought by attorneys for the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of plaintiffs who say they were unlawfully stopped and frisked based on their race. The trial is expected to last several more weeks.

Each day this week, advocates rallied outside the courthouse.

On Wednesday, it was Muslim New Yorkers.

"The NYPD is essentially operating on a premise of guilty until proven innocent," said Fahd Ahmed of Desis Rising Up and Moving.

Thursday, it was the gay and lesbian community.

"We want accountability," said Mitchyll Mora of Streetwise and Safe. "The NYPD has no accountability."

On Friday, it was religious leaders.

"We're here to call for a change in that policy, because the price for communities of color is too high a price," said the Rev. Raymond Rivera of the Latino Pastoral Action Center.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, a judge ruled that another case, which challenges the stops and arrests of public housing residents, will also be allowed to move forward.

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