January 28, 2014

City's Plan to Drop Stop and Frisk Appeal... Still Pending


By Kathleen Horan : Reporter, WNYC News

January 27, 2014 WNYC - Police reform advocates say it's about time the city drop its appeal in the stop and frisk lawsuits: They expected Mayor Bill de Blasio to do so by now.

During his campaign for mayor, he had vowed to drop the Bloomberg Administration's appeal after taking office. And when he chose Zachary Taylor to be Corporation Counsel, the city's top attorney, on December 29, those advocates expected word about the stop and frisk appeal soon after. But parties involved in hammering out the final terms of a settlement are said to be in ongoing discussions. They said an agreement will be announced soon.

Policing expert Sam Walker, Professor Emeritus at the University of Nebraska Omaha, said whenever that settlement happens, it will be significant because the de Blasio Administration is embracing police reforms more than other cities have.

"It's an unprecedented event in the history of American policing," Walker said.

Resistance continues to come from New York's police unions, which dispute the U.S. District Court's initial finding - that the way the NYPD conducts stop and frisks violates the 4th and 14th Amendments and requires remedies, including a federal monitor. The unions have filed court motions to take up the city's appeal once it is dropped. Those motions are still pending.

A discussion about potential outcomes from the stop and frisk lawsuits was being held Monday evening at the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law. Public advocate Letitia James and a number of police reform advocates attended.