NEW YORK – The New York City Police Department reached a legal settlement Friday that requires it to abandon a practice in which officers use extended stops on the street to investigate warrants and relationships with others. and search.”
Under the agreement, officers would only be able to conduct a warrant search during a street stop if they had “reasonable suspicion” that the arrested person was “committing, committing, or about to commit” an offense or if there was probable cause to . So.
The New York Police Department has revised its stop policy and is conducting training. The department sent a message to all officers informing them of the change and it will be read out at every shift roll call for 10 days. According to the agreement, disciplinary action can be taken by the department for violation.
The settlement resolves a 2019 class action lawsuit that challenged the stops, which often involved people of color, as unconstitutional violations of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unlawful stops and unlawful search and seizure.
One plaintiff, Luis Rios, said the practice was an extension of the NYPD’s “racist stop and frisk program”, which was largely scaled back in 2013 after a judge ruled that it was a form of indirect racial profiling. . Another plaintiff, Terron Belle, said the NYPD’s lengthy stops were “infringing on the rights of other Black and Latino people throughout the city.”
“This lawsuit has always been about seeking justice for innocent New Yorkers who have been unjustly stopped on the street so invasive NYPD officers can verify their IDs,” said Cyrus Zoubin, attorney for the plaintiffs.
Nicolas Paolucci, a spokesman for the city’s legal department, said the settlement agreement was “in the best interests of all parties.”
Some law enforcement unions and pro-police elected officials lamented the loss of a key strategy in keeping suspected criminals off the streets.
“This is another decision that empowers criminals and hinders police from doing their jobs,” Queens Republican Councilwoman Joan Arriola said in a tweet shared by the city’s detectives association. “We need to prioritize public safety in this city, but it would pretty much guarantee that dangerous criminals can roam at will.”
Historically, police departments have used a suspicion of a relatively minor crime (the smell of marijuana or a broken taillight, for example) as an excuse to dig into a person’s past to open warrant databases. and what the NYPD calls an investigation card, or I card.
The practice has been dramatized on TV shows such as “Law & Order” and “NYPD Blue” and, according to critics, is made easier with officers only having smartphones that can instantly access NYPD databases. However, in many cases those arrested say that they were not doing anything wrong and that the police had no reason to arrest them.
Belle said that as he was walking home from the subway, four plainclothes officers surrounded and searched him. The officers told him they were looking for a weapon, he said, and after finding none, they demanded his identification and checked the warrant.
Going forward, the settlement agreed according to the NYPD’s revised arrest policy: “The right to detain a suspect ends when acts related to the reason for the arrest are accomplished or should have reasonably been accomplished. “
Under the agreement, the NYPD will have until January 31 to train all officers on the new policy. It will also pay $453,733 in damages and attorneys’ fees for the five plaintiffs named in the lawsuit. The plaintiffs would each receive between $3,000 and $19,000.