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Stop and Frisk Attorneys Urge Court to Reject City’s Attempt to Stay Reforms

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Dorothee Benz, (212) 614-6458, press@ccrjustice.org

September 6, 2013, New York – Today, in Floyd v. City of New York, a federal class action lawsuit that successfully challenged the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) stop-and-frisk practices, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and co-counsel Beldock, Levine & Hoffman, LLP and Covington & Burling, LLP filed their opposition to the City’s request that steps to remedy the unconstitutional stops be stayed. Last month, in a landmark decision following a nine-week trial, Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ruled that the highly controversial stop-and-frisk practices violate New Yorkers’ Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which protects against racial discrimination. Since that ruling, David Ourlicht, one of the Floyd plaintiffs, has been illegally stopped a fourth time by NYPD officers. To remedy the widespread constitutional violations, the judge ordered a court-appointed monitor to oversee a series of reforms to NYPD policing practices and also ordered a Joint Remedial Process that will solicit input from a variety of stakeholders, including New York communities most directly affected by policing.

“The City’s attempt to delay the remedy process is part of the same pattern of obstinacy it has shown over more than a decade in response to efforts by activists, legal organizations, and affected communities to get the NYPD to comply with the Constitution,” said CCR Senior Staff Attorney Darius Charney.

Co-counsel Jonathan Moore of the firm of Beldock Levine & Hoffman, LLP, said: “The people have spoken, the legislature has spoken, and the courts have spoken. Everyone but the mayor and the police department agrees—it is long past time for change. And it is long past time for Mr. Bloomberg and the NYPD to get on board with that change.”

On June 27, 2013, the New York City Council passed two bills as part of the Community Safety Act (CSA). The CSA is a significant police reform package aimed at ending discriminatory policing and increasing NYPD accountability. On July 23, Mayor Bloomberg vetoed both bills. On August 22, the City Council overrode both vetoes. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Public Advocate Bill De Blasio have both filed legal papers urging Judge Scheindlin to reject the mayor’s request for a stay.

“As today’s filing demonstrates, it is the people living in this City, who have suffered for so long from the NYPD’s massive violations of their constitutional rights – and not the City itself – who will be harmed by the stay sought by the City,” said Eric Hellerman of co-counsel Covington & Burling.

Today's filing is available here.

The Floyd case, filed in 2008, stems from the earlier racial profiling case, Daniels, et al. v. City of New York, et al. that led to the disbanding of the infamous Street Crime Unit and a settlement with the City in 2003. For more information on the case, visit www.ccrjustice.org/floyd.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.