Last updated November 3, 2015
What is the Joint Remedial Process and why is it happening?
The purpose of the Joint Remedial Process, as stated by the court, is to develop a set of reforms with the direct input of the people most affected by the NYPD’s discriminatory stop-and-frisk practices. Those reforms will supplement the reforms to policies, trainings, supervision, discipline, and monitoring currently being developed by the plaintiffs, the NYPD, and the court-appointed monitor in the Floyd v. City of New York lawsuit.
In the spring of 2013, we asked a federal court in New York to order the NYPD to engage in a community-input process with the plaintiffs (the attorneys and clients who brought the landmark Floyd case) and other stakeholders to design reforms to the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practice with the goal of developing reforms together.
In August 2013, after a nine-week trial, the court found that the NYPD’s practice of stop and frisk was unconstitutional and racially discriminatory and ordered the NYPD to engage in this Joint Remedial Process. In its ruling, the court specifically wrote that meaningful and lasting reform requires the support and involvement of the people most affected. As the court emphasized:
The communities most affected by the NYPD’s use of stop and frisk have a distinct perspective that is highly relevant to the crafting of reforms. No amount of legal or policing expertise can replace a community’s understanding of the likely practical consequences of reforms in terms of both liberty and safety....
If the reforms to stop and frisk are not perceived as legitimate by those most affected, the reforms are unlikely to be successful. Neither an independent Monitor, nor a municipal administration, nor this Court can speak for those who have been or will be most affected by the NYPD’s use of stop and frisk.
Is the remedial process limited to stop and frisk?
The Joint Remedial Process includes reforms within the Floyd case as well as two related cases known as Davis and Ligon. Both the Davis and Ligon cases challenged NYPD practices beyond stop and frisk. Check here for information about the Davis case and here for information about the Ligon case.
What kinds of reforms could come from the Joint Remedial Process?
With respect to the Floyd case, the range of potential reforms is broad and could include changes to, among other things: how the NYPD holds officers accountable for unlawful street encounters, how the NYPD documents stop-and-frisk activity, what criteria the NYPD uses to evaluate officer conduct, what information the NYPD provides to people who have been stopped, and how supervisors oversee officer behavior.
What will the Floyd Joint Remedial Process involve?
Retired judge and longtime mediator Ariel Belen has been appointed by the court to work with the parties to design and facilitate the Joint Remedial Process. The design of the process is a work in progress and may change over time.
As of November 2015, the Joint Remedial Process is expected to have four main components:
(1) focus groups of those most affected by the NYPD’s unlawful stop-and-frisk practices;
(2) an advisory committee for Judge Belen and his staff, comprised of community organizations, NYPD leadership, police union representatives, law enforcement officer of color organizations, religious leaders, and academics;
(3) conversations between Judge Belen’s team and several community leaders on police reform issues; and
(4) structured community forums.
In addition, there will ideally be a mechanism for soliciting input on stop-and-frisk reforms from line NYPD officers.
What will the focus groups look like?
The focus group piece of the Joint Remedial Process began in late October 2015. We anticipate there will be at least 25 different focus groups. The goal is to draw participants across all five boroughs from 25 NYPD precincts and about 70 neighborhoods— including, to name a few, Melrose, Mott Haven, East Flatbush, Brownsville, Jamaica, Bed-Stuy, and Rockaway Park.
Focus groups will be comprised of eight to ten people who were or are affected by the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices. Participants will be selected in collaboration with community organizations. We are working to ensure that the focus group participants represent a cross-section of those most affected by the NYPD’s practices, including young Black men, LGBTQ youth of color, homeless people, immigrants, public housing residents, and people recently released from prison.
The focus groups are expected to run through early 2016.
What is the purpose of the focus groups?
We are working to ensure the focus groups are designed to solicit input on a central and critical question: what do you – the people most affected by racial profiling and unlawful stop-and-frisk practices – want the NYPD to change?
We will review the raw data – that is, focus group transcripts and similar materials – from each focus group as they go on. That data will be used to inform the reform proposals that are ultimately included in a report that Judge Belen will submit to the court and court monitor in the spring of 2016.
What is the advisory committee?
Judge Belen has asked a group of approximately 12 people to provide him with non-binding guidance and suggestions on the Joint Remedial Process. This committee, as of November 2015, is comprised of representatives from community organizations, NYPD leadership, police unions, law enforcement officer of color organizations, religious groups, the Department of Justice, and academia. More than half of the representatives are from community organizations. The first convening of the advisory committee occurred at the end of September 2015.
What else will the Joint Remedial Process include?
In addition to the focus groups, the Joint Remedial Process is expected to include two other structured avenues for obtaining community input into reforms. One avenue is currently being called “leadership meetings.” In the leadership meetings, community organizations who have been leading police reform efforts in New York City will meet with Judge Belen and others to discuss potential reforms. The second avenue will be borough-wide community forums. Judge Belen and the parties are still working to design what those community forums will look like.
What will be the outcome of the Joint Remedial Process?
When the Joint Remedial Process ends, Judge Belen will draft a report to the court proposing specific reforms to the NYPD’s practices. The parties – that is, the Floyd plaintiffs and the NYPD – will provide comments to Judge Belen about what reforms he should or should not include in his report. Then, Judge Belen will submit to the court and court monitor his recommendations on what reforms the NYPD should be required to adopt and implement. At that point, the parties could, if they thought it necessary and appropriate, write to the court with comments or objections to what Judge Belen has recommended. The court will then issue an order directing the NYPD to make specific changes based on the Joint Remedial Process.
Throughout the JRP, the Center for Constitutional Rights will continue to meet regularly with and advise the facilitator in order to seek a meaningful and robust process.
Learn more about how we got here
- 1999: Killing of Diallo and Filing of Daniels
After the killing of Amadou Diallo by the NYPD Street Crime Unit, CCR and others file Daniels v. City of New York, challenging the constitutionality of the stop-and-frisk practices of the NYPD Street Crime Unit, with the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights and MXGM members as plaintiffs.
- 2003: Daniels Settlement
We settle with the NYPD, which agrees to disband the unit, adopt a written policy against racial profiling, and create a stop-and-frisk paperwork audit system. In the following years, the number of stop and frisks skyrockets, with the vast majority of stops in communities of color.
- 2008: Floyd v. the City of NY
CCR and co-counsel file Floyd v. the City of New York, a federal class action lawsuit against the City of New York that challenges the NYPD’s practices of racial profiling and unconstitutional stop and frisks. We receive and make public detailed data from the NYPD about its use of stops.
- March - May 2013: Trial in Floyd
Impacted community members pack the court for nine weeks of trial. Over 100 witnesses testify.
- August 12, 2013: LANDMARK VICTORY!
A federal judge finds the NYPD liable for a widespread practice of unconstitutional and racially discriminatory stop and frisks. She appoints an independent monitor to oversee a process for developing reforms that must include the input of communities most heavily impacted by stop and frisk.
- August - October 2013: City Appeals
The City appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and asks to halt the reform process. The police unions file motions to intervene in the case. In response, a broad base of New Yorkers file declarations about the importance of the reform process.
- October - December 2013: Appeals Court Temporarily Halts Reform Process
A three-judge panel for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals halts the reform process and removes the district court judge from the case but does not overturn the August rulings on liability and remedy. There is public outcry over the judge’s removal. CCR and others, including the judge, file motions for reconsideration before the entire appeals court.
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio promises to drop the appeals once he enters office. The court puts on hold the police unions’ motions to intervene in order to give de Blasio and the Floyd plaintiffs the chance to try to resolve the case in early 2014. The outgoing mayoral administration files a merits brief for the appeal.
- January 2014 - September 2015: Agreement Announced
In January 2014, Mayor de Blasio and the Floyd legal team announce agreement to drop appeal and move forward with reforms.The district court denies the police unions’ motions to intervene and agrees to modify the August 2013 remedial order by defining the term of the court-ordered monitor. The City of New York formally withdraws their appeal.
- In 2015, CCR begins meeting with the monitor and facilitator to discuss immediate reforms and the collaborative Joint Reform Process (JRP).