Scheindlin Rejects City Bid for Stay in Stop and Frisk
Southern District Judge Shira Scheindlin (See Profile) has refused to stay her order installing a monitor for the New York Police Department to oversee reforms of police stop-and-frisk tactics.
Scheindlin rejected a request by the attorneys with the New York City Law Department to stay her orders in the case of Floyd v. City of New York, 08 Civ. 1034, pending its appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
The judge defended her decisions in Floyd and said the city was unlikely to prevail in the circuit as it challenges remedies she imposed in August following a trial in which she found the police department was engaged in the widespread practice of violating the Fourth Amendment's requirement for reasonable suspicion in making stops and violating the Equal Protection Clause because a disproportionate number of those stopped are black and Hispanic (NYLJ, Aug. 13).
"Contrary to statements by certain high-level city officials and pundits, this Court did not order an end to the practice of stop and frisk," Scheindlin said in a 17-page opinion and order. "Rather, this Court ordered that such activity be conducted in accordance with well-established controlling law from both the United States Supreme Court and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals."
After finding the city liable, Scheindlin on Aug. 12 appointed Peter Zimroth, a partner with Arnold & Porter, as monitor to ensure the department's policies comport with the Fourth and Fourteenth amendments; named Nicholas Turner of the VERA Institute of Justice as facilitator to meet with all "stakeholders" in the litigation and the community to suggest reforms; and directed the police to start a one-year pilot project in one precinct in each borough where body cameras are worn to record stop encounters.
She also ordered longer-term reforms in the recording of stops, in the training, supervision, monitoring and discipline of officers and in other areas, but with few measures to be immediately implemented.
The city in its request for a stay said Scheindlin erred in finding violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth amendments and "any actionable widespread pattern or practice deliberate indifference or causation," under Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978).
It also claimed that the judge's injunctive relief in Floyd was "not narrowly tailored or clear enough to address found wrongs, particularly as it has no discernible end point or standards to measure success" (NYLJ, Aug. 28).
Scheindlin in her opinion said she found this argument "particularly troubling" and said the Floyd plaintiffs classified this a problem of "ripeness" "non-finality," and "non-appealability."
"Regardless of the legal basket in which the argument is placed, the result is the same," she said. "It takes time to fashion appropriate remedies."