City, Plaintiffs Reach Accord in Stop-and-Frisk

, New York Law Journal

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Plaintiff Nicholas Peart, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter
Mayor Bill de Blasio announces that New York City will not appeal Southern District Judge Shira Scheindlin's ruling that the police stop-and-frisk tactics are unconstitutional. Appearing with deBlasio yesterday at the Brownsville Recreation Center in Brooklyn are left, Nicholas Peart, 23, a plaintiff in the litigation, and Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton announced an accord to settle stop-and-frisk litigation Thursday, vowing to follow through on reforming police department policies and to keep a court-appointed monitor on the job.

The announcement came at a press conference held at the Brownsville Recreation Center. In 2012, the 73rd Precinct had the highest percentage of stops per population of any precinct in the city.

De Blasio, Bratton and Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter pledged to pursue changes in stop-and-frisk policies found unconstitutional by Southern District Judge Shira Scheindlin on Feb. 14 and Aug. 12, 2013, including her decision to appoint Peter Zimroth of Arnold & Porter as a police department monitor.

In a complete turn-around from the dogged opposition to stop-and-frisk litigation by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, de Blasio said, we "accept the facts and road map laid out" in Scheindlin's "landmark ruling" in Floyd v. City of New York, 13-3088, including her finding that stop-and-frisk policies "unfairly targeted young African-American and Latino men."

De Blasio said the monitor would be in place for three years.

Once "the agreement is ratified" by Southern District Judge Analisa Torres, de Blasio said, the Corporation Counsel would drop its appeal of Scheindlin's rulings in Floyd and a second case over policing outside of private buildings in the Bronx.

Carter, invoking Martin Luther King, said the city was reaffirming King's commitment by ensuring that "no law-abiding citizen should fear the intrusion of law enforcement simply because of the color of their skin."

He said the next three years would be spent developing "policies, procedures and training to ensure that inappropriate considerations of race will not be a determinative factor in police decision making."

The reforms that are expected to take place include improved training and training materials, oversight of officers on the street and messages on police department policies broadcast by supervisors.

Scheindlin's rulings were stayed on Oct. 31 by a three-judge motions panel at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which also removed her as presiding judge for giving the appearance of partiality in press interviews during trial in the Floyd case.

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    Bravo, Mayor de Blasio. Proud of you.Judge Scheindlin’s service to New Yorkers and the Constitution has been acknowledged and honored by Mayor de Blasio’s principled act to admit the abuse of stop-and-frisk. The Law Department, now presided over by Zack Carter, will honor the law rather than seek to make legal that which isn’t. Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg Laws taught us that making “evil” legal isn’t lawful, but ultimately, a war crime. Seeking to legalize unconstitutional behavior legal isn’t honest or honorable. There are more cases in the Law Department’s inventory that need to be addressed; we are prosecuting one such case, presided over by Judge Koeltl, which exposes the defective school disciplinary system potentially injuring 1.1 million school kids with false charges being levied, known to be false when made, just to victimize the innocent. For public service lawyers to assist in the harm will cost taxpayers even more in damages let alone the wrong lesson taught kids in school that truth and actual innocence don’t matter. Now, thankfully such behavior will run afoul of Corp Counsel Carter and Mayor de Blasio. It is a bright new day for a unified City that respect-in-fact the Constitution. /s/Ravi Batra

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