The end of 2013 brings to close a year of safer streets and the end of an era for the police commissioner. It was also a year of major controversy over a police tactic. NY1’s Dean Meminger takes a look back at criminal justice news for 2013.
Throughout 2013, the police department continued to say stop, question and frisk is a valuable tool in fighting crime.
But the NYPD had to answer a lot of questions during a federal trial about the practice.
Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled stop and frisk often violates constitutional rights and called for a federal monitor. The city appealed. A higher court tosses Scheindlin off the case, stating she gave the appearance of favoring those suing the city. However, the appeals process continues for now.
This as the City Council passed a law implementing an inspector general to oversee the NYPD.
The city continues to see record low crime rates in 2013. As of December 15, there were 317 murders, down 21 percent from a year ago and 50 percent from 12 years ago.
But all it takes is one incident to make the city appear out of control. Motorcycle road rage took over the West Side Highway. Surrounded by bikers, a SUV driver said he feared for his life and ran over one biker, critically injuring him. Bikers viciously beat the driver, 11 of them were indicted, including an off-duty NYPD detective.
Police continue to try to put the brakes on the iron pipeline, illegal guns coming from down South.
Several major gun busts were made, including the largest one in city history. In August, the city announced 19 arrests and 254 guns seized.
A cold case that Haunted the NYPD was finally solved. The body of 4-year-old, only known as Baby Hope, was left in a cooler in 1991.
This year a tip led officers to the girl's family, her cousin was charged with murder. The girl's name was finally discovered: Anjelica Castillo.
After 12 years at 1 Police Plaza, actually 14 if you count his first time around as police commissioner, Ray Kelly is leaving the building. There are blemishes from stop-and-frisk and allegations of spying on Muslims. However, Kelly leaves behind a legacy of fighting crime and terror. And as he says, he made the Big Apple one of the safest big cities in the nation.
Now Enter Bill Bratton as commissioner, the second time around for him.