The City of New York is moving to pull the reigns on the NYPD's controversial "stop-and-frisk" policies. Recently elected Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that the city and the plaintiffs in the original case brought against "stop-and-frisk" have agreed to have a court-appointed monitor keep tabs on the police department for three years. More importantly, the mayor says that the city will drop its controversial appeal following an official agreement to put the monitor in place for three years.
"We will not break the law to enforce the law."
Last August, a federal judged ruled that the city's program of pulling people aside on the street for searches was unconstitutional. In the ruling, Judge Shira Scheindlin concluded that the police department was indeed going after black and Hispanic New Yorkers on baseless suspicions, and she called for a monitor to help the city rectify faults in the program. As part of the decision, hundreds of police officers were ordered to wear cameras in order to monitor their actions. Then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg repeatedly defended the program, and he moved to have the ruling overturned under appeal. The status of that appeal has been on hold until this March, leaving the decision to continue battling for the policy under de Blasio. As a candidate, de Blasio ran for office as an outspoken critic of the Bloomberg administration's handling of the controversy.
With today's announcement, the city says it will drop the appeal once the court amends its ruling to limit to court monitor to three years. Both the plaintiffs and the city will have to agree to amend the pending decision, which is expected to happen according to today's announcement. After the three-year period, the city's inspector general (a new position that has yet to be filled) will oversee the program, according to The Wall Street Journal. Today's announcement does not signal the end of "stop-and-frisk"; rather, it means that the city will stop fighting to preserve it in its current form, which has been deemed unconstitutional.
In a statement the mayor said, "This will be one city where everyone’s rights are respected, and where police and community stand together to confront violence." The new police commissioner, Bill Bratton, added, "We will not break the law to enforce the law."