Judge denies city’s request to delay stop-and-frisk reforms
The city’s motion to stay the reforms put forward in Judge Shira Scheindlin’s landmark stop-and-frisk trial was denied by that very judge on Tuesday.
Scheindlin brushed aside the concerns outlined in the city’s motion and maintained that those concerns did not meet the necessary criteria to justify a stay. A stay would have been warranted, the judge wrote, if the city had persuaded her that their appeal to overturn her decision will succeed, that the City, the NYPD and any other involved parties would be substantially or irreparably injured, and that it is in the public’s best interest to stay the reforms.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has lashed out at Scheindlin frequently since she issued her ruling, and her written denial of the city’s motion seemed to at some points be a testy response to his attacks.
“Contrary to statements by certain high-level city officials and pundits, this Court did not order an end to the practice of stop and frisk,” the judge sniped.
The most immediate of the judge’s ordered rulings are the instatement of a court-appointed monitor to oversee the reforms, a court-appointed facilitator to maintain communication between the various stakeholders, and the implementation of body cameras in five select precincts.
The city argued in part that those remedies ought to be stayed because they are not clear. Scheindlin responded that their issue appears to be that the effects of those remedies are not immediately clear, and dismissed that complaint as spurious on the grounds that these remedies are part of a process.
The city also balked at the cost of the body camera pilot project and pointed to potential confusion that cops could experience should the judge’s decision ultimately be overruled.
The judge also ordered several long term remedies, including changing the UF-250 form that police use internally to record stops, designing a ticket or card for police to give people who are stopped, and improving written record-keeping and training materials.
In response to the city’s warning that enforcing even the preliminary remedies would be a detriment to public safety, the judge pointed out that the drop in crime that the city proudly touts has coincided with a drop in the number of stops. She credited the drop in the number of stops to the multiple rulings she has issued in stop-and-frisk cases, as well as the work of community leaders pushing for reform of the practice.
“Ordering a stay now would send precisely the wrong signal,” the judge wrote in her ruling.
Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat