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New York mayor drops appeal to stop-and-frisk reform

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio [official profile] dropped former mayor Michael Bloomberg's [BBC profile] appeal [JURIST report] on Friday to the judge-ordered reform [JURIST report] of New York's stop-and-frisk program. Police Commissioner William Bratton supported [Huffington Post report] de Blasio's decision to drop the appeal. Bratton believes that the policy has caused distrust between the people of New York and the police and that the police must now fix this relationship. Bloomberg staunchly supported the stop-and-frisk policy, but de Blasio made reforming the policy a major component of his campaign. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] gave several police unions the opportunity to challenge the city's request to return the case to the lower court since the city abandoned the appeal.

Criticism of NYPD's stop-and-frisk procedure revolves primarily around the relevant racial issues involved [JURIST op-ed]. Critics claim the procedures are unconstitutional [JURIST op-ed] because they unfairly target minorities, who are disproportionately selected for stops and searches. Other criticisms indicate that the procedure itself is unwieldy and ineffective [JURIST op-ed], emphasizing quantity of searches over their quality and resulting in an unnecessary drain on department time and resources. In November the court blocked NYPD stop-and-frisk changes. In the period between 2004 and 2011 only 1.5 percent of the 2.3 million searches conducted revealed an illegal weapon. In September Judge Shira Scheindlin rejected [JURIST report] a motion by the City of New York to stay her order requiring a halt of the stop-and-frisk procedure. In February the judge granted [JURIST report] class action status to those challenging the procedure. That decision followed an order in January allowing [JURIST report] the searches to resume after a previous ruling had required them to stop.

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