Police reform advocates, community activists and the Bill de Blasio administration heard some good news on Halloween, when a federal appeals court refused to allow New York City police unions to intervene in the city’s stop-and-frisk settlement.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruled to grant the City of New York’s request to withdraw its appeal, deny police unions’ appeal to intervene and lift the stay on remedies in Floyd v. City of New York.
Priscilla Gonzalez, spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform, remarked that it’s about time.
“Today’s ruling rejects the police unions’ baseless attempts to obstruct stop-and-frisk reforms,” said Gonzalez. “The decision puts us on the road forward to engage in a citywide process to identify concrete changes that will protect the constitutional and civil rights of all New Yorkers. The court-ordered reform process that can now move forward will be critical for achieving lasting reforms. New Yorkers who are directly impacted by stop-and-frisk abuses must play significant and formal roles in identifying solutions and evaluating outcomes.”
The number of stop-and-frisks reached a record high of 685,000 in 2011 but have been on the decline ever since. In the first half of 2013, there were 27,527 stops. Two of the precincts recording the most stops are based in Brooklyn, with 126 stops this year compared with 10,540 in 2011.
The New York Police Department began to implement some changes while battling the court ruling by instituting a pilot program of body-worn cameras in five precincts and training police officers on how to properly stop someone.
Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, has spun the latest developments as a positive for the union.
“The court made clear that the PBA’s collective bargaining and state law rights do not take a back seat to what is clearly a voluntary agreement between plaintiffs and the city, a point the PBA has made repeatedly since the agreement was struck by the new administration,” said Lynch in a statement. “The PBA will continue to monitor actions taken in this process moving forward, to ensure that they do not violate the rights of NYC police officers.” on 1