mayor bill de blasio on thursday committed to reform stop-and-frisk police tactics, agreed to the appointment of a monitor and seeks to end a 14-year court fight culminating in a judge's ruling the new york city police department discriminated in carrying out the controversial program.
"we believe these steps will make everyone safer," de blasio told a brooklyn news conference shortly after city lawyers asked the second u.s. circuit court of appeals to return the case to the lower court "for the purpose of exploring a full resolution." he also said, "this will be one city where everyone rises together, where everyone's rights are protected."
de blasio said the city agreed to the appointment of a monitor for three years to oversee the creation of reforms aimed at ending discrimination. the monitor will oversee a process in which those communities most affected by the stop-and-frisk tactics, will provide input on the reforms.
"i can't wait to get started," said vincent warren, executive director of the center for constitutional rights, which has represented plaintiffs in the lawsuits. but he cautioned the announcement won't immediately end discrimination. warren said, "nobody standing here today is pretending this mission is accomplished. the problem hasn't been solved. we will have a collaborative reform process. we'll have a court monitor to ensure these reforms move forward."
police commissioner william bratton said the policy, as it had been carried out for years, left too many people who were frisked wondering, "why,why me?" while police officers, being pressed to make more arrests - even as crime rates fell dramatically - were wondering, "why more?' he said the practice tore the fabric between the police and the population. he said, "we need to repair it."
a judge ruled last year the nypd discriminated against blacks and latinos when stopping, questioning and sometimes frisking people on the street. the judge ordered major reforms to the nypd's implementation of the policy. former mayor michael Bloomberg vehemently appealed the decision. but de blasio, who took office last month, prioritized this issue in his campaign, and wants results.
during bloomberg's 12-year tenure, stops had soared to more than five million in the past decade, primarily black and latino men. about 10% of the stops resulted in arrests or summons; weapons were found 2% of the time. four men sued the nypd in 2008, saying they were unfairly targeted because of their race.
u.s. district court judge shira scheindlin presided over a 10-week bench trial. she heard testimony from a dozen new yorkers who said they were wrongly stopped. she agreed, imposing a court-appointed monitor to oversee reforms. but her ruling has been on hold pending the appeal.
the federal appeals court took the unusual step of removing scheindlin from the case, saying she misapplied a related ruling allowing her to accept it to begin with, and had inappropriately spoken publicly about the case. plaintiffs' attorney jonathan moore said the city's decision to drop the appeal "vindicates the findings by judge scheindlin and provides the opportunity for the nypd to reform policies and practices that the district court found unconstitutional."
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.