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Mayor: City to Drop Stop-and-Frisk Appeal, Begin Reforms

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Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that the city will drop its appeal over the federal stop-and-frisk case, in which the practice was deemed unconstitutional.

De Blasio said the city will accept the decision and implement the reforms recommended by the judge.

"We believe in respecting every New Yorkers' rights regardless of what neighborhood they live in or the color of their skin, and we believe in ending the overuse of stop and frisk that has unfairly targeted young African-American and Latino men," de Blasio said.

The mayor says the city reached an agreement with plaintiffs in the case that would install a court-appointed monitor to oversee the department's stop-and-frisk policy for three years. It would also lead to further police reforms.

In addition, an Inspector General will also oversee the department, following legislation last year by the City Council.

"These actions that we are announcing today moving us towards resolution, toward a comprehensive reform, are essential. They are necessary to ensure that the fabric of society that must exist between police and the community is, in fact, rewoven so that we come out of this process stronger," said Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

Stop-and-frisk is a controversial police tactic that allowed officers to stop, question and frisk hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, the overwhelming majority of whom were black and Hispanic men.

Back in November, a federal appeals court decided not to toss out a ruling that found the New York City Police Department's policy is discriminatory.

The city, under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, was pushing for Judge Shira Scheindlin's ruling to be thrown out because she was removed from the case by a panel of judges, who said she gave the appearance of bias.

Mayor Bill de Blasio had said that he would end the practice when he took office, and on Thursday, he said he is taking steps to withdraw Bloomberg's appeal.

"We're here today to turn the page on one of the most divisive problems in our city," he said.

In her ruling, Scheindlin said that in many cases, the NYPD was breaking the constitutional rights of black and Latino men by stopping and frisking them.

She said the department needs to do better training and start a program that would require officers wear body cameras to record their actions.

So far, the mayor and police commissioner have not made any specific changes to the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy. They said that when it comes to hammering out reforms for the department, community input will be needed.

"The work of putting flesh on the bone has yet to be done," said Zachary Carter, the city's incoming Corporation Counsel. "We're just getting started today."

In response to Thursday's announcement, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch said, in part, "We continue to have serious concerns about how these remedies will impact our members and the ability to do their jobs. Our goal is to continue to be involved in the process in order to give voice to our members and to make every effort to ensure that their rights are protected."

Though the move was hardly a surprise, for one plaintiff, the announcement was still significant.

"This has been long overdue," said Nicholas Peart, a plaintiff in the stop-and-frisk case. "For so many years, the stop-and-frisk has been plaguing the black and brown communities, and it hasn't been acknowledged."

Web Extra: Watch the Full Press Conference


TWC News: Mayor: City to Drop Stop-and-Frisk Appeal, Begin Reforms
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