New York Daily News

January 30, 2014


 

Mayor de Blasio announces New York's stop-and-frisk appeal is on hold

Mayor Bloomberg’s administration had sought to appeal Judge Shira Scheindlin’s ruling, which stated the NYPD had abused its power. But de Blasio is working to settle the case out of court. ‘We believe these steps will make everyone safer,’ de Blasio told a Brooklyn news conference. ‘This will be one city where everyone rises together, where everyone’s rights are protected.’

BY DANIEL BEEKMAN , ANNIE KARNI AND GINGER ADAMS OTIS / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Mayor de Blasio, who campaigned on a promise to “end the era of stop-and-frisk policing,” moved Thursday to do just that.

He announced a deal to drop the city’s appeal of a court ruling that found the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk violated the constitutional rights of minorities.

Under the proposed settlement, the city would accept the remedies ordered by federal Judge Shira Scheindlin in her sweeping Aug.12 decision, including the appointment of an outside a monitor to oversee reforms.

The deal calls for the oversight by the monitor, Peter Zimroth, to last three years; Scheindlin’s decision had contained no end date.

The agreement, negotiated with the lawyers who had sued the city, represents a dramatic U-turn from the policies of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had denounced and appealed Scheindlin’s ruling, saying it would put the safety of New Yorkers at risk.

Standing alongside his police commissioner, William Bratton, inside a recreation center in Brownsville, Brooklyn — the community that has had more stop-and-frisks than any other — de Blasio argued just the opposite.

He said the reforms “will make everyone safer.”

“We’re here . . . to turn the page on one of the most divisive problems in our city,” the mayor said.

“We believe in ending the overuse of stop-and-frisk that has unfairly targeted young African-American and Latino men.”

The deal — if it is accepted by the courts — would end one of the most racially polarizing legal battles in modern city history.

The NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk has rankled minorities and civil rights activists for years, dating to the days of Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

But the practice soared under Bloomberg and his top cop, Ray Kelly, to more than 5 million stops in the past decade, mostly of black and Hispanic men. About 10% resulted in arrests or summonses; weapons were found 2% of the time.

The issue became a flash point in the mayoral race, with de Blasio pledging to scale back and reform the police use of the tactic.

In her ruling, Scheindlin said the NYPD’s application of stop-and-frisk policing amounted to a “policy of indirect racial profiling,” saying cops routinely stopped “blacks and Hispanics who would not have been stopped if they were white.”

The deal announced Thursday is not final.

City police unions have until Feb. 7 to file any objections, and the city has until Feb. 14 to reply.

Giuliani, who filed a legal brief supporting Bloomberg’s appeal, said it was a mistake to halt the appeals process.

“Everybody is entitled to have the court system play this out to the very end,” he said. “Otherwise the question remains forever, ‘Was (Scheindlin’s decision) political?’”

The president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, Patrick Lynch, had a more cautious response, saying only that “we continue to have serious concerns about how these remedies will impact our members and the ability to do their jobs.”

A police union spokesman, Al O’Leary, added, “This is a proposal. It's not a solution yet. We've been given until Feb. 7 to tell the courts what we think about it. We're in the process of putting that together now."

Bratton, an architect of stop-and-frisk when he worked under Giuliani, said Thursday the reforms were essential to improving police-community relations.

“They are necessary to ensure the fabric of society . . . is in fact rewoven,” he said.

In a statement, he added, “We will not break the law to eforce the law. That’s my solemn promise to every New Yorker, regardless of where they were born, where they live, or what they look like. Those values aren’t at odds with keeping New Yorkers safe — they are essential to long-term public safety.”

With News Wire Services

dbeekman@nydailynews.com
gotis@nydailynews.com

The long road to a legal settlement over challenges to stop-and-frisk policing:

  • March 8, 1999: Lawsuit Daniels v. NYC filed after Amadou Diallo was killed by police in the Bronx. It challenges stop-and-frisk practices by the NYPD’s Street Crimes Uunit.

  • January 20, 2004: Daniels v. NYC dismissed in settlement when NYPD agrees to disband Street Crimes Unit and adopt written policy against racial profiling.

  • 2003-2008: Number of stop and frisk encounters increase dramatically over time under Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

  • Jan. 31, 2008: Lawsuit Floyd v. NYC filed accusing NYPD of unconstitutional stop-and-frisk practices and racial profiling.

  • May 2013: Trial held over nine weeks in Floyd v. NYC. The trial is head as the mayoral race gains steam, with stop-and-frisk policing a major issue.

  • Aug. 12, 2013: Manhattan Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin finds NYPD liable for unconstitutional and racially discriminatory stop-and-frisk practices. Scheindlin appoints a monitor to oversee reforms in a process with NYPD and community input.

  • Aug-Oct. 2013: Bloomberg administration appeals Scheindlin's ruling and police unions seek to intervene in the case.

  • Oct. 31, 2013: U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals panel halts reform process and removes Scheindlin from the case, accusing her of appearance of impropriety.

  • Nov. 5, 2013: Bill de Blasio is elected mayor after making improper stop-and-frisk practices a pillar of his campaign. He promises to drop the appeal of Scheindlin's ruling.

  • Dec. 10, 2013: Bloomberg administration submits court filing in support of its appeal.

  • Jan. 1, 2014: De Blasio inaugurated as mayor.

  • Jan. 30, 2014: De Blasio announces agreement with plaintiffs. His administration asks 2nd Circuit panel to put appeal on hold and send case back to Manhattan Federal Court for settlement.

Source: Center for Constitutional Rights