August 31, 2015 5:00 pm


PBA Warns: Receipts Will Mean Fewer Stops

‘Invite Retaliatory Complaints’


PATRICK J. LYNCH: ‘Will accelerate increase in crime.’  

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association last week blasted a Federal Judge’s approval of a rule that police officers must give “receipts” with information on how to make a complaint to persons they stop and frisk but do not arrest.

“With the Civilian Complaint Review Board’s contact information prominently listed on the back, these receipts are clearly designed to invite retaliatory complaints against police officers who make an active effort to prevent crime and take guns off the street,” PBA President Patrick J. Lynch said in a statement Aug. 25.

Deters ‘Proactive Policing’

“They are just one more item on the ever-growing list of anti-public-safety measures that will put an end to proactive policing in this city and ultimately accelerate the increase in crime and disorder that we are already seeing in our public spaces,” he continued.

“It is time for our policymakers to stop heaping new burdens on police officers and to figure out how to unwind the damaging measures that are already in place before the erosion in public safety does serious damage to New York City’s economic health.”

The recommendation for the receipts was made by Peter Zimroth, the former city Corporation Counsel appointed Federal monitor by U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin after she ruled in 2013 that the NYPD’s aggressive stop-and-frisk policy was being employed in an unconstitutional fashion.

She concluded that many stops were performed for racial reasons rather than abiding by the U.S. Supreme Court guideline that officers be able to articulate a reasonable suspicion that the subject they stopped was, had just been or was about to be involved in criminal activity.

The Judge now overseeing the case, Analisa Torres, on Aug. 25 approved the receipts and another recommendation that formally prohibits racial profiling.

Receipts Start Soon

“Based on the recommendations of the Federal Judge and court-appointed monitor, a new Patrol Guide procedure governing stop-and-frisk provides a new explanatory receipt to persons stopped but not arrested, barring exigent circumstances,” said NYPD Director of Communications J. Peter Donald. The procedure was expected to start in mid-September.

The Center for Constitutional Rights, which was involved in class-action litigation that resulted in Judge Scheindlin’s decision, said, “We welcome the development of an NYPD policy prohibiting racial profiling and other forms of bias-based policing as a critical step in remedying the NYPD’s unconstitutional practices, and we look forward to its implementation. We are also pleased that the new policy regarding street encounters will place clearer legal limits on stops and frisks of New Yorkers and look forward to ensuring that officers receive ample training on both of these new policies.”

Regarding the stop-and-frisk receipts, the Center said, “While this program may be a significant step, it is critical to remember, despite some unclear reporting, that the program is only in pilot form and will require further improvements to ensure greater police accountability and compliance with the mandates of the stop receipt.”

Stop-and-frisk was a favored tactic under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his Police Commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly. The number of stops rose to 685,724 in 2011 before beginning to drop in 2012 amid the Federal litigation. Mr. Kelly also issued a memo instructing cops to focus on quality stops rather than high numbers. Of­ficers conducted 46,235 stops in 2014, but crime, which had declined sharply under Mr. Bloomberg, continued to fall.

Nearly 90 percent of those stopped were young black and Latino men. A similar per­centage was released without being arrested or given a summons.