New York Daily News

February 22, 2014


 

Federal appeals court stops NYPD unions' bid to halt Mayor de Blasio's stop-and-frisk deal

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the settlement deal for the stop-and-frisk case be hammered out in a lower court. Police unions were looking to intervene in the deal struck between Mayor de Blasio and the plaintiffs of the case, saying the stop-and-frisk reforms would harm their reputation.

BY DAREH GREGORIAN AND RICH SCHAPIRO / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

A federal appeals court Friday dealt a blow to the NYPD unions’ bid to appeal mandated reforms of stop-and-frisk.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals stopped the unions’ attempt to intervene in the deal struck between Mayor de Blasio and the plaintiffs, who allege they were unjustly stopped because of their race.

The unions wanted to continue to appeal because they say the reforms will harm their reputation.

The latest ruling mandated that the case be returned to a lower court for 45 days to cement a settlement deal.

But there is a silver lining for the unions — the appellate division said they should be involved in the final negotiations before a deal is finalized.

"We are pleased that the circuit court confirmed that our intervention motion should be heard prior to any settlement, and we look forward to pressing the police officers' concerns before the district court," said lawyer Steven Engel, who represents the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.

he case now lands in the hands of Manhattan Federal Court Judge Analisa Torres, who replaced Judge Shira Scheindlin after an appeals court booted her off the case.

The city Law Department said: "The Court of Appeals recognized the City's interest in resolving the case, which we now intend to do in the District Court."

Civil rights groups welcomed the ruling.

"We are gratified that the Court of Appeals has accepted the parties' proposed framework for resolving this case," said the Center for Constitutional Rights, which brought the class-action suit. "Now that the litigation has largely concluded, we look forward to working with affected communities and the City toward achieving lasting reforms to the NYPD's stop and frisk practices."

The ruling comes six months after Scheindlin ruled that aspects of stop-and-frisk were unconstitutional.

Scheindlin ordered a raft of reforms, including the hiring of a federal monitor.

Not long after taking office, de Blasio announced that the city would end its battle over stop-and-frisk.

Since that Jan. 30th declaration, the city asked to withdraw the appeal, saying it would cause unnecessary delay and hurt its chances of finalizing a settlement.

But police unions countered that the appeal should go forward to help repair the reputation of the nation's largest police force.

"Our mission has always been to gain a seat at the table in order to protect our members' rights and reputations," said PBA President Pat Lynch.

"We look forward to representing those interests and our hope is that the court will recognize the importance of having the police officers' voices heard in the process of addressing the issues raised in this litigation."

The New York Civil Liberties Union cheered the decision.

"This ruling removes the last hurdle to a settlement of the stop-and-frisk litigation, and we can now all move forward with the reform process," said associate legal director Chris Dunn.