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Sybrina Fulton, mother of slain Fla. teen Trayvon Martin, speaks out against NYC stop-and-frisk police practice

Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, holds up a card with a photo of her son as she speaks at the National Urban League's annual conference, Friday, July 26, 2013, in Philadelphia AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, holds up a card with a photo of her son as she speaks at the National Urban League's annual conference, Friday, July 26, 2013, in Philadelphia.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

(CBS/AP) --The mother of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin spoke out Sunday against the stop-and-frisk police practice in New York City, saying neither police nor civilians have the right to stop someone because of their race.

PICTURES: George Zimmerman on trial in death of Fla. teen

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Critics say the stops target blacks and Hispanics who aren't doing anything wrong. Earlier this week, a federal judge told New York City that its policy was racial discrimination. The city plans to appeal.

"You can't give people the authority, whether civilian or police officers, the right to just stop somebody because of the color of their skin," Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Over the past decade, New York police have stopped, questioned and sometimes patted down about 5 million people; 87 percent were black or Hispanic. About 10 percent of the stops spur an arrest or summons. Police find weapons a fraction of the time.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin issued a ruling blasting the NYPD stop-and-frisk practices, which have been staunchly defended by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly as a key crime-fighting tool. Ruling top city officials have "turned a blind eye to the evidence that officers are conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner," she appointed an outside monitor to oversee reforms in police training and tactics.

A federal lawsuit alleged the NYPD violated both citizens' Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, which bars racial discrimination. Scheindlin agreed on both counts.

"No one should live in fear of being stopped whenever he leaves his home to go about the activities of daily life," Scheindlin wrote in her ruling. "Those who are routinely subjected to stops are overwhelmingly people of color, and they are justifiably troubled to be singled out when many of them have done nothing to attract the unwanted attention."

Kelly defended the use of stop and frisk Sunday and said violent crimes would increase if the practice were abandoned.

"The losers in this, if this case is allowed to stand, are people who live in minority communities," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

Kelly also said: "The judge, in this case, has indicted an entire police department -- almost 36,000 police officers -- for racial profiling based on what we believe is very flimsy information, flimsy evidence."

NAACP president Ben Jealous, who also spoke on "Meet the Press" Sunday, said there's no relationship between the decline in the murder rate in New York City and an increase in stop and frisks.

"Just because there are more murders in our community doesn't mean you can treat all of us like we're guilty," Jealous said.

Fulton has said neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman "got away with murder" in the 2012 killing of her son, largely because of Florida's self-defense law.

Protesters had been occupying part of the Capitol in Tallahassee, calling for an examination of the Florida law since Zimmerman was acquitted last month. Zimmerman claimed self-defense in shooting the 17-year-old Martin during a fight; Martin's supporters say Zimmerman profiled and followed him because Martin was black.

Complete coverage of the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case on Crimesider

  • Erin Donaghue

    Erin Donaghue covers crime for CBSNews.com's Crimesider.

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