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Stop-frisk foes push for broader changes

A New York Police Department (NYPD) car sits

A New York Police Department (NYPD) car sits parked in Times Square. (Aug.12, 2013) Credit: Getty Images

Longtime foes of the NYPD's stop-and-frisk practice Thursday urged Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and the next police commissioner to adopt a wider agenda of policy changes.

Strengthened oversight of the department, fewer arrests of children for in-school rule breaking, a de-emphasis on minor offenses like marijuana possession and bike-riding on the sidewalk, and an early-warning system for brutality-prone cops are among the suggestions by the New York Civil Liberties Union in its report, "Beyond 'Deliberate Indifference': An NYPD for All New Yorkers."

The NYCLU's executive director, Donna Lieberman, said that, while she expects the civil liberties community to "have a far more constructive relationship" with de Blasio than Mayor Michael Bloomberg, she won't hesitate to criticize him and his staff when necessary "to hold their feet to the fire."

De Blasio campaigned on a pledge to rein in the NYPD's stop-and-frisk practice, contending it has been carried out in a racially discriminatory manner.

"I think and pray that the next administration will take heed to some of the fundamental problems that occurred in the last administration," said City Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn), a sponsor of bills passed earlier this year over Mayor Michael Bloomberg's veto to create an NYPD inspector general and allow people who allege they were racially profiled to sue.

Williams was one of several NYPD critics at the NYCLU's lower Manhattan offices, along with Hazel Dukes of the state NAACP.

Separately Thursday, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman released a study concluding that of the 150,000 arrests resulting from 2.4 million stops between 2009 and 2012, about half resulted in convictions or guilty pleas, or 3 percent of the stops. The Schneiderman study also found that just 0.3 percent of stops led to jail sentences of longer than 30 days and 0.1 percent led to convictions for a violent crime.

The NYPD's chief spokesman, John McCarthy, called the Schneiderman report "clearly flawed" and pointed out that the statistics cited for stop-and-frisk arrests, convictions and guilty pleas are statistically identical to arrests made by other means.

De Blasio spokeswoman Lis Smith didn't comment on the NYCLU recommendations but said in a statement of Schneiderman's findings: "This study reaffirms Mayor-elect de Blasio's belief that we must fundamentally reform and stop the overuse of stop-and-frisk. His reforms will make New York safer and help repair the relationships between police and community."

With Anthony M. DeStefano

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