NEW YORK (AP) -- A U.S. judge has appointed a monitor to oversee the New York Police Department's controversial stop-and-search policy after people said they were targeted because of their race.
The judge on Monday ruled that the practice violated people's rights. Four men had sued saying they were unfairly targeted.
Police have made about 5 million stops over the past decade, mostly of black and Hispanic men.
The mayor and police commissioner have defended the practice-- known as stop, question and frisk -- as a life-saving tool. City lawyers have argued the police department does a good job monitoring itself.
The practice has led to protests and warnings that it is creating resentment and anger.
The ruling on the nation's largest police department may affect how other U.S. police departments operate, legal experts said.
Associated Press writer Colleen Long contributed.