A federal judge ruled the NYPD's stop-and-frisk searches violate the rights of minorities
"We think the judge could not be more wrong," Mayor Michael Bloomberg says
The city intends to follow up its appeal by asking for a stay of judge's order, an official says
New York City is appealing a federal judge’s finding that the police department’s stop-and-frisk searches violate the constitutional rights of minorities, according to documents filed Friday in a Manhattan court.
The city filed its notice of appeal after U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ruled that changes must be made to the policy because it unlawfully targets blacks and Hispanics.
The city intends to follow up its notice of appeal by asking for a stay of the judge’s order that was issued Monday, said Kate O’Brien Ahlers, a spokeswoman for the city’s Law Department.
Scheindlin, ruling on a class-action lawsuit, found that the police department’s policy violated plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment rights barring unreasonable searches, based on statistics showing police made at least 200,000 stops from 2004 to June 2012 without reasonable suspicion.
She also found evidence of racial profiling, violating plaintiffs’$2 14th Amendment rights guaranteeing equal protection.
“We think the judge could not be more wrong,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in his weekly radio address Friday on the “John Gambling Show” on WABC.
The police department had said that the policy – in which police stop, question and frisk people they consider suspicious – is used to deter crime.
The lawsuit, filed in 2008, went to trial for nine weeks this spring. The lead plaintiff in the case was David Floyd, a medical student who was stopped twice – once in the middle of the afternoon when he was in front of his home in the Bronx, according to the suit.
Coupling this week’s ruling with a similar decision in January, Scheindlin ordered that the policy be altered so that stops are based on reasonable suspicion and in a racially neutral manner.
She appointed Peter Zimroth, a former chief assistant district attorney in Manhattan, to develop and oversee near-term reforms, including changes to the NYPD’s policies and training.
She also called for the creation of a pilot project where NYPD patrol officers in five precincts – one per borough – must wear video cameras. The chosen precincts would be those with the most stops in 2012. “The recordings should … alleviate some of the mistrust that has developed between the police and the black and Hispanic communities,” and “will be equally helpful to members of NYPD who are wrongly accused of inappropriate behavior,” Scheindlin wrote.
New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly called Scheindlin’s finding of racial profiling “disturbing and offensive.”
“We do not engage in racial profiling. It is prohibited by law,” Kelly said earlier this week. “We train our officers that they need reasonable suspicion to make a stop, and I can assure you that race is never a reason to conduct a stop.”
Bloomberg said the policy was one of a number of programs that helped the city’s murder rate drop – it’s 50% below the rate when he took office nearly 12 years ago, he said.
CNN’s Jason Hanna contributed to this report.