Police Unions Pick Up on Stop-Frisk Case

NEW YORK (AP) -

Police unions told a federal appeals court Friday that they want the courts to decide whether a judge properly ordered changes to the New York Police Department’s stop-question-and-frisk program even if the city no longer wants to challenge her rulings.

Unions representing most of the 35,000 members of the nation’s largest police force told the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that they would like to continue the case despite the city’s recent announcement that it wanted to drop its appeal and settle the case in the lower court.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last month that the city would agree to the appointment of a monitor to oversee a process to change the proven crime fighting tool after U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin concluded last summer that it was sometimes carried out in a discriminatory manner and that a monitor was necessary. Scheindlin was taken off the case by the appellate court after she was deemed too biased, but de Blasio’s administration asked the 2nd Circuit to drop its appeal.

“The court entered findings that unfairly besmirch the reputations of the men and women of the NYPD, imposed facially overbroad remedies, and exposed the NYPD to an unwarranted and indefinite period of federal supervision,” according to the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the Detectives Endowment Association, the Lieutenants Benevolent Association and the Captains’ Endowment Association.

“The contemplated injunction would directly burden the officers’ daily work and would impair the police unions’ collective bargaining and other rights,” lawyers for the unions said.

In separate papers, the Sergeants Benevolent Association said a dismissal of the city’s appeal “would leave in force the two grossly flawed opinions” from Scheindlin.

It said its members were “among the most harshly criticized individual NYPD officers mentioned in the opinions” and “deserve the opportunity to defend and vindicate themselves through this appeal.”

The unions also invited the court to vacate Scheindlin’s rulings as a condition of approval for any agreement. They said that “their daily work lives will be changed substantially if the remedies embodied in the district court’s order — now to be embodied in a consent decree — are ever to be implemented.”