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Queens Chronicle

Civil rights stop-frisk case before new judge

Cops still hope to block city settlement

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Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 12:36 pm, Thu Mar 6, 2014.

The federal case over the Police Department’s use of stop and frisk went before a new judge last week.

District Judge Analisa Torres will now rule on the lawsuit brought against the city by civil rights groups and people who say they were wrongly stopped by cops, in violation of their constitutional rights.

Another jurist, Judge Shira Scheindlin, decided for the plaintiffs last year, determining that police intentionally stop, question and frisk more minorities than warranted, out of racial bias. She ordered several remedies, including the establishment of a federal monitor to oversee the NYPD, along with a panel of 12 academics, and the requirement that some police in one precinct in each borough wear miniature cameras on their uniforms to record interactions with the public.

Under Mayor Bloomberg, the city appealed the ruling, and the Appeals Court determined that Scheindlin had failed to display proper judicial impartiality and decided to send the case back down to another judge in District Court.

Meanwhile the five police unions filed papers seeking to intervene in the case so they could continue Bloomberg’s appeal, if, as they expected, incoming Mayor de Blasio were to drop it. De Blasio, unlike Bloomberg and former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, agrees with Scheindlin and the plaintiffs on the unconstitutionality of stop and frisk.

The mayor earlier this month proposed a settlement with the plaintiffs that would keep some of Scheindlin’s orders in place.

But rather than accept the settlement, the appellate panel last week sent the case to Torres. It also decided against granting or denying the police union’s bid for intervenor status in the case, saying that decision could have a bearing on settlement negotiations.

Patrick Lynch, president of the largest police organization, the Patrolment’s Benevolent Association, noted in a Feb. 25 article in The Chief, a newspaper for civil service employees, that the unions believe aspects of Scheindlin’s ruling “unfairly besmirch the reputations of the men and women of the NYPD.”

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