Stop, Question and FriskAugust 28, 2013
On August 12, 2013, Federal Court Judge Shira Scheindlin issued an Opinion and Order in the above lawsuit in which she found that the “stop and frisk” practices and policies of the City of New York Police Department (“NYPD”) are unconstitutional. In a separate Opinion and Order, issued the same day, Judge Scheindlin ordered the NYPD to reform its stop and frisk practices and policies to comply with the requirements of the United States Constitution. In doing so, however, the Judge made it clear that the purpose of the remedial measures ordered by her was not to end the stop and frisk practice, but rather to ensure that the practice is carried out in a manner that lawfully protects the constitutional rights and liberties of New York’s citizens. The remedies include, but are certainly not limited to, ordering the NYPD to revise its policies, documentation (such as the UF-250 and activity logs), and training as they all relate to stop and frisk practices and alleged racial profiling, all in order to insure that the NYPD’s policies and practices adhere to the dictates of the Constitution and state law which prohibit unreasonable searches and seizures. The Judge also appointed an independent monitor, Mr. Peter L. Zimroth, a former Corporation Counsel of the City of New York and former Chief Assistant District Attorney of New York County to oversee the NYPD’s compliance with the Court’s ordered remedies.
Additionally, as many of you are aware, in June of this year, the New York City Council passed Introduction 1080, amending the New York City Administrative Code § 14-151 (the “Bill”), in relation to prohibiting “bias-based profiling”. Mayor Bloomberg vetoed the Bill, but on August 22, 2013, the City Council overrode the Mayor’s veto; and thus, the law is effective 90 days thereafter. The law, among other things, permits individuals who believe they were subjected to bias-based profiling to either: (1) file a complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights, or (2) bring a civil lawsuit against the NYPD and individual law enforcement officers engaged in alleged “biased-based profiling.” The legal remedies available to the complainant in either of the above legal proceedings are limited to injunctive and declaratory relief. However, if after a lawsuit a police officer is found liable, the Court can award the prevailing plaintiff reasonable attorney’s fees. Additionally, such an adverse finding can be used against the police officer in other legal proceedings pursuant to other state and federal laws.
It is important for you to know that there are a lot of uncertainties which the law poses, and surely you will have many questions that we may not have the answers to at this time. The only thing you can be certain of is that we will do anything and everything in our power to legally protect your rights and to keep you safe on the job while you keep the 8 million citizens of New York City safe from gun-toting criminals. We will also keep you informed at every step of the way in this process. When we know something, you will know something. Hopefully, as the interplay between the Court ordered monitor and the legislatively mandated NYPD Inspector General takes shape, we will have more information and answers for you.
Until such time, however, the DEA is providing you and all our members with guidelines that we suggest you follow in connection with the practice of stopping and frisking people on the streets of New York City.
Initially, if you are directly ordered to stop and frisk certain persons by your supervisor, you are to obey those orders; however, we recommend that you indicate any such order on your activity logs.
 Ligon, et. al. v. The City of New York, et al., Case No.: 12-cv-2274.
To: All DEA members
From: Michael Palladino, President
Subject: Stop, Question and Frisk
Date: August 29th, 2013
1. On Thursday, August 22nd, 2013, the New York City Council enacted the Bias Based Profiling Law. As a result, DEA members can now be sued personally by civilians you encounter while performing your routine duties in your capacity as a New York City Detective regardless of whether you are on or off-duty. The ambiguity in the language of the new law creates many questions and uncertainties that we do not yet have all the answers to. What we do know, is that the new law will have an impact on how you approach and perform the dangerous work of our profession.
2. The DEA and our attorneys seek clarity and answers to our many questions and concerns on your behalf however, until such time, the DEA recommends that our Detectives perform stop question and frisk when:
a. Given a direct order to do so by a supervisor of the NYPD. If so directed, members should document all the necessary information about the stop including the name of the supervisor giving the lawful direct order.
b. A crime was committed “in your presence” and you detain the person responsible for the commission of the crime you witnessed.
c. you encounter someone who you reasonably believe places either you or your fellow officers or a civilian in imminent danger.
3. Members can consult the DEA website at www.nycdetectives.org for further information and background on the developments that took place in Federal Court and the City Council regarding the stop and frisk policy.
4. You have done a magnificent job keeping New Yorkers safe from crime and terrorist attacks while risking your lives everyday making New York City the safest city in America. Despite your great contribution, the City Council has enacted legislation that will not only make your job more difficult, but could jeopardize your safety, your career, your reputation and your pension.
5. The city council’s actions will no doubt embolden those involved in criminal behavior however, that does not mean that you should subject yourself to injury. Proceed with caution. Do not hesitate to protect yourself and your fellow officers and defend yourself if you must.