Thursday, December 18, 2014

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Federal Appeals Court Halts NYPD Stop-And-Frisk Changes, Removes Judge

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A federal appeals court on Thursday blocked a judge's order that called for changes to the New York City Police Department's stop-and-frisk program, and Judge Shira Scheindlin will be removed from the case and her decisions will be stayed pending the outcome of an appeal by the city as a result of the decision. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.

Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin, who ruled against the police department and the city in the stop-and-frisk trial, has been tossed from the case, a major blow for civil rights activists who have pushed this case for more than 10 years.

The police commissioner agreed with the federal appeals court, which said that the judge was biased from the beginning.

"I have always been, and certainly haven't been alone, concerned about the partiality of Judge Scheindlin," Kelly said. "And we look forward to the examination of this case, a fair and impartial review."

The panel of federal appeals judges said that Scheindlin gave an appearance of not being impartial over stop-and-frisk, and that she was also wrong to give media interviews and make public statements after she was criticized by the city and others.

"We conclude that the District Judge ran afoul of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges…" the decision read.

The federal appeals court has also, for now, agreed with the city, preventing any changes to stop-and-frisk while the city's appeals case continues to be heard.

Judge Scheindlin ruled that the police tactic violated the constitutional rights of blacks and Latinos. She ordered that the NYPD put in place a monitor for the practice, do more training and have officers wear body cameras.

Those suing over stop-and-frisk said that the case will go on in the courts and on the streets with protests.

"The evidence before the court in this case was overwhelming that stop-and-frisk, NYPD-style, is out of control and it is not compliant with the constitutional standard," said Donna Lieberman of the New York Civil Liberties Union. "So today's ruling is, it's a disappointment, it's a setback, absolutely. But it's only a procedural setback."

"We're disappointed for the citizens of the city of New York who have waited many, many years for this ruling and want to put the issue of the abuse of stop-and-frisk behind them," said Jonathan Moore, a civil rights attorney. "This decision by this panel complicates that."

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