A civil liberties group filed a federal lawsuit Thursday challenging the use of “stop and frisk” searches by Philadelphia police, alleging that the policy is violating the rights of blacks and Latinos who have done nothing wrong.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed the lawsuit on behalf of eight men — including a state lawmaker — it says were subjected to illegal searches since the city started using “stop and frisk,” a controversial element of first-term Mayor Michael Nutter’s 2007 mayoral campaign.
In the lawsuit, the ACLU cites city data showing that 253,333 pedestrians were stopped last year, compared with 102,319 in 2005. More than 70 percent of the people stopped last year were black and only 8.4 percent of the total stops led to an arrest, the ACLU said.
The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, seeks unspecified damages and a court injunction. It also alleges that police Commissioner Charles Ramsey has failed to train and discipline officers.
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