Gov. Paterson Friday signed into law the controversial stop and frisk legislation that forces the NYPD to delete the names of people questioned - but not arrested - from its electronic database.

More than 2.5 million such encounters have been logged into the database since 2004, with police calling it a vital tool in fighting crime.

But critics have long contended it's an assault on a generation of minorities.

"Not every police procedure contributes to the lowering of crime," Paterson said. "This procedure is a prime example of that."

The NYPD lobbied furiously for Paterson to veto the bill.

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