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DOJ Plans To Back NYPD Oversight Move

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The U.S. Justice Department is throwing its support behind a federal monitor for the NYPD if a judge finds stop-and-frisk unconstitutional.

The move comes as Manhattan federal judge Shira Scheindlin weighs a decision in the class-action lawsuit aiming to curb stop-and-frisk.

Should she rule against the city, Scheindlin could appoint the monitor herself.

A decision is expected in the coming months.

In a statement of interest filed Wednesday night, the Justice Department said, "A court-appointed monitor in this case would help the court ensure that, if any pattern or practice is found to exist, it is effectively and sustainably remedied."

Many New Yorkers who spoke with NY1 say they support the idea of a special monitor.

"I think it is a good idea because, something separate from the forces you know. I think it sounds good for me," said one New Yorker.

"If it continues to persist, it continues to become an issue, definitely needs to be addressed, therefore they need an oversight," said another New Yorker.

Still, some New Yorkers felt stop-and-frisk was responsible for making them feel safe in the city. They say a monitor would get in the way if the practice was allowed to continue in some form.

"They're just going to have their strings pulled by the powers that may be," said one New Yorker. "It'll be just window dressing. The Fourth Amendment is the Fourth Amendment. You don't have to reiterate what's already known."

"I don't think it's illegal to check somebody," said another New Yorker.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit say the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy unfairly targets minorities.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly deny that, and say the practice is an effective crime-fighting tool.

They also say the NYPD already has enough oversight including Internal Affairs, and state and federal prosecutors.

City Council speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn has been pushing to create an inspector general to oversee the police department.

In a statement, a spokesman for City Hall hailed the professionalism of the NYPD, saying getting illegal guns off the street has saved thousands of lives.

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