Court tosses out police unions’ challenge to anti-racial profiling law
A Manhattan judge dashed attempts by local police unions to quash a law allowing individual officers to be sued for racial profiling.
Justice Anil Singh threw out the challenge by the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association against the law passed by the New York City Council last year.
“This Court recognizes that police officers must make split-second decisions when engaging in investigative stops,” Singh wrote in his decision.
However, he added, the law “does not prevent police officers from continuing to stop, question and frisk while utilizing their training and experience.”
The labor groups reaffirmed in court that the law makes officers vulnerable to targeting and weakens their ability to do their jobs.
On Thursday, PBA President Patrick J. Lynch said his group remained committed to fight the verdict.
“We strongly disagree with the judge’s decision and we intend to appeal it,” Lynch said in a statement. “This law sends an extremely bad message to our police officers who will see themselves in legal crosshairs with every arrest they make. Potentially, this bad law can have a very serious impact on public safety.”
Reform advocates who helped shape the law, which passed the City Council in a late-night session last summer, celebrated Singh’s conclusion.
“New Yorkers know that it should be unlawful for police to target them solely based on who they are — whether race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, housing or immigration status — and today the court confirmed it,” wrote Joo-Hyun Kang of the Communities United for Police Reform coalition.
The unions filed the suit after the city dropped its own appeal of the law, originally brought by the Bloomberg administration. Last year, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg vetoed the law, which the City Council overturned soon after.
Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter @chestersoria