Police unions could continue to carry the appeal of the federal stop-and-frisk ruling even if Bill de Blasio drops it when he takes office in January. Credit: Getty Images
Energized by the landslide victory of their mayoral candidate in yesterday's election, stop-and-frisk opponents crowded onto the steps of City Hall to call on the outgoing mayor to drop his appeal.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg's law department is appealing federal Judge Shira Scheindlin's ruling in Floyd v. City of New York. Scheindlin said the way the NYPD practices stop, question and frisk is unconstitutional and discriminatory.
Last week, three Court of Appeals judges granted city lawyers their motion to stay Scheindlin's ordered remedies while they appeal her ruling.
In an extremely unusual move, the judges also removed Scheindlin from the cases, seizing on allegations that she improperly coached attorneys to make sure the cases were brought to her.
But the timeline outlined in the Court of Appeals judges order extends well into 2014, when Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio will have taken over. De Blasio has vowed to drop the appeal.
Stop-and-frisk opponents today insisted Bloomberg should just drop the appeal himself.
Congressman Jerrold Nadler called pursuing the appeal a "total" waste of taxpayer money.
"The appeal ... is going to be dropped in January," Nadler said, "so why waste everybody's time and money and energy in November and December?
"It's not as if it's up to the current mayor what happens beyond January," Nadler said. "Might as well cooperate with the incoming administration, figure out how best to drop it and coordinate."
Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams, one of the lead architects behind two related laws recently passed by the City Council broadening the demographics protected against profiling and installing an inspector general to oversee the NYPD, condemned Bloomberg for his response to the Court of Appeals order.
Williams said he was "disappointed in ... the mayor and the commissioner and the police unions who tried to pretend like they won something, who tried to pretend like something was overturned, like the facts were looked at and they said, 'You were wrong.'
"The only thing that this administration won was character assassination of a very, very reputable judge," Williams said, referring to the Bloomberg administration and Kelly's accusations against Scheindlin, and her removal by the Court of Appeals judges. Williams emphasized that ordering a stay of Scheindlin's ruling was not the same as overturning it, and insisted his side could win again if they were forced to return to court.
"We won in an open court when the facts were reviewed," Williams said. "This (Court of Appeals) panel did not review the facts."
"I know if this appeal were to go forth, we'd win again in open court," Williams added.
However, even if de Blasio drops the appeal in January, the case won't be a done deal. The police unions have all put forth petitions to establish themselves as injured parties, which would allow them to continue to carry the appeal if the city drops it.