New York City drops stop-and-frisk appeal

WTF stop and frisk 2.5.14

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that the city will drop its stop-and-frisk appeal after reaching a settlement with the plaintiffs in Floyd v. City of New York. 

“We’re here today to turn the page on one of the most divisive problems in our city,” said De Blasio, who campaigned against stop-and-frisk. “We believe in one city, where everyone rises together. We believe in respecting every New Yorkers’ rights, regardless of what neighborhood they live in or the color of their skin. And we believe in ending the overuse of stop-and-frisk that has unfairly targeted African-American and Latino men.”

Read more: NY Attorney General report questions efficacy of stop & frisk policy

Last August, U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that New York City’s stop-and-frisk practice was constitutional because police officers were stopping individuals on the basis of race, targeting black and Hispanic men.

Then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg appealed Scheindlin’s decision to the Second Circuit Court, which suspended the remedy process pending the appeal. The Second Circuit also removed Scheindlin from the case, replacing her with Judge Analisa Torres.

Read more: Second Circuit denied NYC’s request to vacate stop & frisk order

Not only will the city drop its appeal, De Blasio said the city will begin implementing the remedies outlined Scheindlin’s ruling. Some of the reforms include:

  •  a court-appointed monitor, Attorney Peter Zimroth, to oversee NYPD’s compliance with the court order;
  •  a direct dialogue between police and the community to shape reforms;
  •  develop new policies, procedures, and training of police officers to prevent acts of racial profiling;
  •  appoint an independent NYPD Inspector General to investigate wrongdoings;

“We have a tremendous opportunity to make our city better and safer. We must not squander it. We need to bring all the stakeholders to the table and work on real reforms with real accountability,” said Vince Warren, Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represented the Floyd plaintiffs. “Our job is to hold the mayor and police commissioner accountable to these promises. We will have collaborative reform process that makes sure all stakeholders, including our community partners and activists, have a say in what the reforms look like. And we will have a court monitor to ensure that these reforms move forward. But this is where the real work begins.”

Although Bloomberg frequently invoked public safety to justify stop-and-frisk, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said abandoning the practice will not negatively impact public safety and that police officers should not be “breaking the law to enforce it.”

A report by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman showed that only 6% of the 2.4 million stop-and-frisk conducted by the New York Police Department resulted in an arrest. The report challenged the efficacy of stop-and-frisk in reducing crime.

“The first responsibility has to be public safety. Let’s face it: Stop, question, and frisk – as it’s been practiced in this city for the last several years – has not met that obligation or responsibility,” said Bratton. “Instead of securing confidence, instead of securing legitimacy and procedural justice in this city for the residents, it instead has raised doubts and concerns about the police force in this city.”

Bratton added, “The reality is that constitutional or lawful policing – respectful policing – ultimately is effective policing.”

 

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