Stop-and-Frisk Plaintiffs Oppose Police Union Appeal

September 24, 2014, New York – Today, plaintiffs in the Center for Constitutional Rights stop-and-frisk case Floyd v. City of New York filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in opposition to an appeal by all five New York City police unions seeking to overturn a decision by Federal District Judge Analisa Torres. On July 30, Judge Torres rejected the unions’ attempt to intervene in the landmark class action lawsuit that found the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices racially discriminatory and otherwise unconstitutional. She ruled that the unions’ request to intervene was filed years too late, given the significance and well-publicized nature of the case, and that, in any event, the unions have no distinct legal interest as a bargaining unit in the court’s finding of liability against the City or in preventing the joint reform process ordered by the court.  

Meanwhile, two amicus briefs were submitted today in support of the plaintiffs’ opposition, one on behalf of Communities United for Police Reform, representing more than sixty grassroots and civil liberties organizations, and one on behalf of elected officials, including Public Advocate Leticia James and more than 25 local City Council Members. Another brief is expected later this week from 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. Also later this week, a group of law professors will file their brief on the legal issues at stake. Representatives from the groups spoke at a press conference on the steps of City Hall today.
“The unions’ attempt to intervene seeks to delay reforms that will improve police-community relations, benefiting all New Yorkers—including NYPD officers,” said CCR Senior Staff Attorney Darius Charney. “For too long, communities of color have felt under siege by the police from illegal, racially-discriminatory policing. We urge the Court of Appeals to reject the unions’ effort to obstruct reforms, so that we can begin the collaborative process ordered by the court to create a city in which the rights of all New Yorkers are protected.”
On August 12, 2013, a federal court found the New York City Police Department’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 New Yorkers Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and that the practices were racially discriminatory in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
“The unions have no standing here, they are just trying to forestall the inevitable,” said co-counsel Jonathan Moore.
For the remedy phase of the case, Floyd was joined with Ligon v. City of New York, brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union, the Bronx Defenders, and Latino Justice PRLDF. Ligon challenges a subsection of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program, which allows police officers to patrol many private apartment buildings throughout New York City.
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, which had its 15th anniversary in February.
Beldock, Levine & Hoffman and Covington & Burling are co-counsel in the case.

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September 24, 2014