January 30, 2014

Police union wants in on de Blasio stop-and-frisk agreement

The PBA says it must have a say in a decision that impacts its members

By Azi Paybarah 

The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association wants a say in Bill de Blasio's proposed agreement on a stop-and-frisk suit against the city. 

The mayor announced plans today to strike a deal with the plaintiffs who began a lawsuit seeking to curtail the police department’s policy, drawing a quick reaction from the police union's leadership.

“Our goal is to continue to be involved in the process,” said PBA president Patrick Lynch, in a statement.

Earlier, the PBA filed a motion asking a federal court to formally recognize the union as an “intervener” in the case, Floyd vs. City of New York. The case was stayed by the Court of Appeals, which said the change in mayoral administrations meant it was possible the city and the plaintiffs could strike a deal without a court action. Also stayed was any court ruling on whether the PBA would be formally recognized in the case.

City corporation counsel Zachary Carter said today the city will start negotiating with the plaintiffs—a group of New York City residents who said they targeted by the police—to establish what a settlement will look like. 

At a press conference in Brownsville today, de Blasio and NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton said their predecessors “pushed” police officers into conducting more stop-and-frisks, despite dropping crime rates.

“Were they being pushed to do more? I think that was clearly understood,” Bratton said at the event. De Blasio said under his predecessor, there was an “incessant push” to do more stop-and-frisks.

Last year, the City Council passed a law making individual police officers legally liable in state court for racially-motived stops. The PBA filed a lawsuit to block that law.

Referring to the current case, PBA spokesman Al O'Leary said, "Wherever the agreement is made, it has a direct impact on our members.”