August 25, 2015, New York – Yesterday evening, the court overseeing reforms to NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practicesin the landmark case Floyd v. City of New York approved two proposed policy reforms – on racial profiling and on police-citizen street encounters. The policies were negotiated with all parties to the case and submitted to the court with the recommendation of the court appointed monitor two weeks ago. With the court’s approval, the policies have now become binding on the NYPD. The Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement in response:
As we stated when the monitor submitted the proposed reforms to the court in our stop-and-frisk case, we welcome the development of a NYPD policy prohibiting racial profiling and other forms of bias-based policing as a critical step in remedying the NYPD’s unconstitutional practices, and we look forward to its implementation. We are also pleased that the new policy regarding street encounters will place clearer legal limits on stops and frisks of New Yorkers and look forward to ensuring that officers receive ample training on both of these new policies.
The court also approved a pilot program to provide a stop receipt, requiring officers to identify themselves and provide to the person stopped the reason for the stop and information about how to file a complaint. While this program may be a significant step, it is critical to remember, despite some unclear reporting, that the program is only in pilot form and will require further improvements to ensure greater police accountability and compliance with the mandates of the stop receipt. CCR and the Floyd plaintiffs wrote to the court to reserve the right to seek further improvements to the stop receipt and measures requiring the NYPD to document lower-level police encounters.
Much additional work remains to be done, including training NYPD officers and supervisors to identify and root out racial profiling. Training on implicit bias will be essential for this to be effective. Likewise, NYPD command must ensure rigorous auditing of these new policies – including auditing to ensure the constitutionality of stops and to make sure that citizens are receiving accurate stop receipts in the pilot program – as well as ensuring appropriate discipline for violations of these policies.
Directly affected communities must be able to offer their perspective on these policies, and the Joint Remedial Process set to begin this fall will provide a mechanism to do just that, which will benefit the reform process and contribute to meaningful and lasting change.
In August 2013, the Center for Constitutional Rights and co-counsel won a landmark ruling that found the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices to be racially discriminatory and unconstitutional under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. The court appointed a monitor to oversee reforms, including a joint remedial process that is intended to solicit substantive input from directly affected communities as well as other stakeholders.
Read more about Floyd here.
Beldock Levine and Hoffman LLP, Covington & Burling LLP, and Demos are co-counsel in the case.
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.