The New York City Police Department has commissioned a six-month independent review of the way it stops people on the streets, sometimes searching them for illegal weapons, after the release of statistics that showed the department stopped 508,540 people in the five boroughs last year, officials said yesterday.

The study will focus on the role that race plays in everyday street stops: some critics have suggested that minorities, particularly black people, were unfairly singled out, a claim the police deny. It will be done by the RAND Corporation, a private nonprofit organization that has studied the issue in other cities, including Oakland, Calif., and Cincinnati, officials said.

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