Federal Court Monitor Details Ongoing Constitutional Violations and Failure of Supervision; Center for Constitutional Rights Responds
October 28, 2020, New York – In response to the release, today, of the 11th status report by the court-appointed monitor in the landmark stop-and-frisk case Floyd v. City of New York, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement from Senior Attorney Darius Charney:
Seven years after a federal court found the New York City Police Department’s stop-and-frisk practices racially discriminatory, it’s clear the NYPD still has a long way to go. Despite years of attempted reforms, significant racial disparities in policing persist, with Black and Latinx New Yorkers much more likely than whites to be subjected to illegal stops and frisks. The federal monitor reported that more than 40 percent of stops are still undocumented, and, of those that are recorded, there is a disproportionate targeting of New Yorkers of color using lower standards of suspicion. Moreover, none of the court-ordered disciplinary reforms has been fully implemented, notwithstanding the increasingly evident need and public demands for robust, meaningful discipline of officers who harm and target New Yorkers. If new trainings, patrol guides, documentation requirements, and all the other efforts ordered by the court fail to reform the NYPD, it’s time to ask, what will?
The four main takeaways from the monitor’s report are:
1. Latinx pedestrians are more likely than white pedestrians to be subjected to unconstitutional stops, and both Black and Latinx pedestrians are more likely than white pedestrians to be subjected to unconstitutional frisks, which indicates that, as Judge Shira Scheindlin found more than seven years ago, the NYPD appears to use a lower standard of suspicion to stop people of color.
2. The NYPD's widespread problem with underreporting of stops shows no signs of letting up, which will make it very difficult for the monitor to accurately assess the NYPD's compliance with the court-ordered reforms. The NYPD's own internal audits show that officers failed to document more than 40 percent of their stops in the first quarter of 2020 (the most recent quarter reviewed).
3. NYPD line supervisors who review their subordinate officers' stops continue to fail to catch a very large percentage of the unlawful stops those officers conduct. Supervisors only detected a legally insufficient basis for the stop in 0.5 percent of all stop reports they reviewed in 2019, even though the monitor found that at least 21 percent of all 2019 stop reports did not articulate a legally sufficient basis for the stop.
4. For the most recent quarter of stop data analyzed by the monitor, 4th Quarter 2019, more than one in four stop reports did not sufficiently articulate reasonable suspicion for the stop.
For more information, visit the Center for Constitutional Rights case page.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.