Stop and Frisk Attorneys Argue to Appeals Court: Reject Union Intervention

press@ccrjustice.org

October 15, 2014, New York – Today, attorneys in the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) landmark class action stop-and-frisk lawsuit, Floyd v. City of New York, urged a three-judge panel to reject a demand by five New York City police unions to intervene in the case to keep alive the appeal the de Blasio administration wishes to drop. The unions seek to overturn a decision by Federal District Judge Analisa Torres, who ruled that the unions’ 11th hour request to intervene was filed years too late, given the significance of and publicity surrounding the case. In any event, Torres further ruled, the unions have no distinct legal interest as a bargaining unit in challenging the court’s finding of liability against the City for its unconstitutional stop-and-frisk practices or in preventing the joint reform process ordered by the court. Today’s argument was before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan.

“More than a year after a federal court definitively found the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices unconstitutional, and nine months after the City itself vowed it would drop its own appeal, the unions continue to try to throw a wrench in the reform process,” said CCR Senior Staff Attorney Darius Charney. “We hope the court will finally put an end to this obvious obstructionism and allow all the parties to begin efforts to improve police-community relations and create a city in which the rights of all New Yorkers are protected.”
 
Four amicus briefs were submitted in support of the plaintiffs’ opposition to union intervention: Communities United for Police Reform, representing more than sixty grassroots and civil liberties organizations; elected officials, including Public Advocate Leticia James and more than 25 local City Council Members; a group of law professors addressing the legal issues at stake; and organizations representing police officers of color, including 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, the Grand Council of Guardians, and the National Latino Officers Association, who say the unions do not represent their members’ interests in this matter.
 
Said co-counsel Jonathan Moore, “The police unions have been trying to impede reforms all along. Yet they’re invited to the table to be part of the collaborative joint reform process, so they really have no leg to stand on.”
 
On August 12, 2013, a federal court found the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk practices unconstitutional. In a 198-page ruling following a 10-week trial, Judge Shira Scheindlin found that the NYPD’s practices violate the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures, and are racially discriminatory in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
 
In addition to finding the City liable for the NYPD’s practices, the court ordered an Independent Monitor to oversee the City’s compliance with the Constitution, and a Joint Remedial Process, by which various stakeholders, including community groups and police unions, will work to develop meaningful, lasting reforms to improve police-community relations. 
 
Floyd was filed in 2008 and stems from an earlier Center for Constitutional Rights racial profiling case, Daniels, et al. v. City of New York, et al., which led to the disbanding of the infamous Street Crime Unit of the NYPD. Daniels was filed in the wake of the Amadou Diallo shooting nearly 17 years ago.
 
Beldock, Levin & Hoffman and Covington & Burling are co-counsel in the case.


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.

Last modified 

October 15, 2014