New York City, rights group seal deal to end stop-and-frisk

Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:20pm EST
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By Marina Lopes and Joseph Ax

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City's new mayor on Thursday announced a settlement with a civil liberties group that sued the city over its stop-and-frisk practices, which he fiercely challenged as a candidate, paving the way for court-ordered reforms to take effect.

A federal judge found the New York Police Department practices unconstitutional in August.

Mayor Bill de Blasio's predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, appealed, arguing that the tactic was a key factor in the biggest U.S. city's historic drop in crime.

The agreement will end the lawsuit brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights and will empower a court-appointed monitor to oversee the police department's reform of stop-and-frisk over three years.

"Today is the beginning of a long-overdue process: the reform of the NYPD to end illegal and racially discriminatory policing," Vincent Warren, the group's executive director, said in a statement. "For too long, communities of color have felt under siege by the police, and young black and Latino men have disproportionately been the target."

In a news conference in Brooklyn's high-crime Brownsville neighborhood - where police stops have been particularly frequent - de Blasio called the settlement a "defining moment in our history."

The mayor said the deal would "lay the foundation for not only keeping us the safest big city in America, but making us safer still."

The city has asked the federal appeals court that had been considering Bloomberg's challenge to send the case back to a lower court so that the parties could explore a resolution, according to a court filing.   Continued...

A New York Police Department officer is seen as Mayor Bill de Blasio attends a news conference in the Brownsville neighborhood in the borough of Brooklyn, New York January 30, 2014. REUTERS/Eric Thayer