NYC asks court to drop appeals in stop-frisk cases

AP News
Posted: Aug 06, 2014 6:29 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to drop the city's appeals and lift the stay of a judge's ruling that its police stop-and-frisk tactic sometimes discriminates against minorities.

The city's request was aimed at speeding the implementation of reforms it has already agreed to in a settlement.

The law department said in papers filed with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan that it was appropriate to drop the cases after a lower-court judge last week concluded that police unions lacked standing to carry on the cases in the city's absence.

The city said those who filed lawsuits and the city "were unified in the belief that the city is entitled to withdraw its appeal as a matter of course," lawyers said in papers submitted to the court.

The unions sought to intervene after a judge last year concluded that the city sometimes discriminates against minorities with its stop-and-frisk program. The 2nd Circuit had directed the unions to let a lower-court judge consider whether they could do so and the lower court ruled against them.

A lawyer for the Sergeants Benevolent Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Center for Constitutional Rights senior staff attorney Darius Charney said action by the 2nd Circuit will permit community groups, faith leaders, unions and other stakeholders to work together to improve the stop-and-frisk program.

"For too long, communities of color have felt under siege by the police, and young black and Latino men have disproportionately been the target," he said in a statement. "Recent events are a painful reminder of just how urgent these reforms are."

Last week, the city medical examiner's office ruled that a man's July 17 death on Staten Island was a homicide caused by neck compressions from a chokehold that is banned under police policy.