The city filed a notice of appeal today, Aug. 16 over the stop-and-frisk ruling issued by U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin on Monday.
Scheindlin determined that the Police Department's use of stop and frisk is unconstitutional in that it discriminates against minorities, violating the 14th Amendment, and constitutes unreasonable search and seizure, violating the Fourth Amendment.
The judge ordered several "remedies" to reform the practice, including forcing some police officers to wear small video cameras to record interactions with suspects, and the appointment of a person to monitor the NYPD.
"As the mayor and Police Commissioner Kelly said on Monday, we strongly disagree with Judge Scheindlin's order," the city's top attorney, Michael Cardozo, said Thursday in announcing the city's plan to begin the appeal process. "We said we'd take immediate steps to appeal, and we plan to do so tomorrow by filing our notice of appeal."
The Law Department, which Cardozo leads as corporation counsel, said the notice of appeal will be a short document of maybe only one or two pages, filed electronically with the District Court. It is only the first step in the appeals process. The case is a class action suit, named Floyd et. al. v. City of New York et. al.
The city maintains stop and frisk is legal, as per the 1968 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Terry v. Ohio, which determined that police may conduct such actions as long as an officer has a "reasonable suspicion" that the target may have committed a crime or be about to commit one.
The NYPD had until recently been conducting a growing number of stops, often resulting in frisks, quick searches for weapons or other contraband. The number of stops grew rapidly over 10 years, from 97,000 in 2002 to 685,000 in 2011, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union, citing Police Department data. In 2012 the number dipped to 533,000. The vast majority of people stopped are either black or Latino.
The administration contends stop and frisk is an effective crime-fighting tool that helps keep guns off the street, contributing to the city's massive reductions in violent crime.
Critics say it contributes not to reductions in crime but in reductions in trust between minority communities and the police.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, a stop-and-frisk critic and candidate for mayor, issued a statement decrying the appeal on Thursday afternoon.
"The overuse and abuse of stop and frisk is driving police and communities apart instead of making our city safer," de Blasio said. "Mayor Bloomberg's decision to appeal the federal court's ruling is wrong and deeply misguided.
"I'm the only candidate committed to appointing a new police commissioner, creating an independent Inspector General (IG) for the NYPD, and passing a ban on racial profiling. As mayor, I would drop this appeal on day one, and work with the federal monitor to make necessary changes at the NYPD to promote public safety and rebuild trust between police and our communities."
Across the aisle, Republican candidate Joe Lhota took the opposite stance in a statement issued Friday, applauding the mayor for appealing and saying Scheindlin's opinion was flawed. He also blasted the Democratic candidates for criticizing the Police Department.
“I’m incredibly disappointed with my opponents in this race who continue to vilify Commissioner Kelly and the brave men and women of the NYPD rather than be honest with New Yorkers about how to keep our streets safe," Lhota said. "I have yet to hear a single answer from them about how they would effectively lower crime in the absence of proactive policing. Every New Yorker who is concerned about the direction of our city should take heed of their positions.
“As mayor, I will continue this appeal and ensure that our law enforcement has the tools necessary to keep all New Yorkers safe. In the meantime, I urge the courts to initiate a speedy process before we begin to feel the dangerous effects of a handcuffed police department.”
Stop and frisk also prompted two police oversight bills recently passed by the City Council and vetoed by the mayor. The Council intends to override the veto Aug. 22.