Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, D-Fort Greene, reacted to a court ruling Wednesday by a Brooklyn Federal Court judge allowing for the broadening of lawsuits brought against the New York Police Department for the use of stop-and-frisk techniques.
The ruling by Judge Shira Scheindlin clears the way for class action lawsuits potentially involving thousands of people on the receiving end of the controversial police stops throughout the five boroughs.
"The decision by a federal judge today to grant class action status to a stop-and-frisk case clearly demonstrates yet again that the program routinely violates the Fourth Amendment rights of hundreds of thousands of innocent New Yorkers each year," Jeffries said in a statement.
Jeffries has been a fierce critic against a NYPD tactic he said disproportionately targets young black men.
"Law enforcement officials who are charged with protecting and serving the community are not above the law, and the court’s decision is a significant step in the right direction towards justice," he said.
The New York Civil Liberties Union released a report last year showing that the NYPD stopped and interrogated people 684,330 times in 2011, the highest total in the practice's recorded history. 87 percent of those stops involved blacks and Latinos.