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Donald Trump is defending his position on stop-and-frisk

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Donald Trump is defending his position on stop-and-frisk

The controversial policing tactic that allows cops to stop, question and frisk suspected criminals has been struck down in some courts as a form of racial profiling. But Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has called for the return of stop-and-frisk, saying that it can save lives.

"If you did some of that in Chicago as an example, where you had 3,000 shootings since January 1, 3000 people were shot and if you did stop-and-frisk there it would be so great for their community," he told Circa.

Law enforcement officials say that used right, stop-and-frisk is an important tool.

Trump supporter and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clark says this issue has become a political hot potato.

"This thing has been bastardized by the left. It really has. They make it seem like the cops are out on the street grabbing black people with no reasonable suspicion - patting them down, looking for weapons. It's not what this is about, this is well grounded in law."

New York's current Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was instrumental in the reduction of stop-and-frisk, says it harms communities.

"Bottom line, it created a huge amount of divide between the police and community," he told CNN.

Debate fodder

The issue was fodder for Monday's presidential debate and highlighted the differences between the two presidential contenders. 

On stage, the GOP candidate said the tactic led to a drop in murders in New York City.

But Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton said stop-and-frisk was found to be unconstitutional, in part because it was ineffective.

Donald Trump is defending his position on stop-and-frisk

Drop in murders:

The tactic is still used in New York, but at a dramatically reduced rate.

But Trump points to advisor and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for his use of the tactic under his administration. He said murder rates went from 2,200 to 500 murders due to stop-and-frisk.

But critics said that while murders did plunge in New York under Giuliani in the 1990s, it didn't become a major police tool until the next decade. In addition, violent crime fell in other major cities from 2001 to 2010 without it.

Unconstitutional?

In 2013, the lower court in New York said the way the law was being applied -by singling my out mainly minorities- was unconstitutional. U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin judge ordered a federal monitor to oversee broad reforms of the police department.

But the tactic itself remains legal. Giuliani, now a Trump adviser, told Circa that stop-and-frisk is constitutional.

"During the time I was mayor there were probably 700,000 stops, not one of them turned out to be unconstitutional, illegal or questionable," he said.

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