As promised, Mayor de Blasio is dropping the Bloomberg administration's appeal of the federal stop and frisk ruling issued this past summer. “This is a defining moment in our history," de Blasio said at the Brownsville Recreation Center. "It’s a defining moment for millions of our families, especially those with young men of color."
During the tactic's high water mark in 2011, Brownsville saw more stop and frisks than any other neighborhood in the city aside from East New York.
Under the proposed agreement, the federal monitor ordered in the ruling will serve for three years (which is significantly less than monitors in Detroit and Los Angeles have had to serve). The court must approve the agreement for the appeal to be dropped. Per the Community Safety Act, passed last year by the City Council that also had to override Mayor Bloomberg's veto, the NYPD will also have an Inspector General to be chosen by the city's Department of Investigation.
“We will not break the law to enforce the law," NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said. "That’s my solemn promise to every New Yorker, regardless of where they were born, where they live, or what they look like."
“Today is the beginning of a long-overdue process: the reform of the NYPD to end illegal and racially discriminatory policing," Vincent Warren, the executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights said in a release. The CCR represented the lead plaintiffs in the case, Floyd v. City of New York, and won the ruling from Judge Shira Scheindlin in August.
Many of the reforms that Judge Scheindlin ordered—increased training, more thorough record keeping—were instituted during and after the trial, and police stops plummeted in 2013, while crime continued to fall.
Still, significant reforms ordered in the ruling [PDF], such as a trial run of lapel-mounted cameras for police officers, and the institution of a federal monitor to ensure that all the changes were made, were held up by the Bloomberg administration's appeal. The administration was clearly incensed that the judge had ruled that the city "willfully ignored" a mountain of evidence that suggested that the tactic, as practiced by the NYPD, amounted to racial discrimination.
Their appeal was validated by three appellate judges, who accused Judge Scheindlin of "bias" in her ruling, and ordered the case transferred to another judge. The judges' ruling was widely criticized by legal experts as one that was rooted in politics, rather than legitimate legal arguments.
The police unions could still carry on their appeal if the court grants them that right.
"We have expected this action from the Mayor and are waiting for a decision from the Courts that determines our ability to continue the appeal," Roy Richter, the president of the Captains Endowment Association said in an email. "If the Court rules in our favor, we will reevaluate our position and the appropriate manner in which to proceed given the City's withdrawing from the appeal."
Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said, "We continue to have serious concerns about how these remedies will impact our members and the ability to do their jobs. Our goal is to continue to be involved in the process in order to give voice to our members and to make every effort to ensure that their rights are protected.”