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NYC police unions continue to pursue stop and frisk appeal

On Friday, a group of police unions filed a motion to block Mayor Bill de Blasio's [official website] proposed settlement and removal of former mayor Michael Bloomberg's [BBC profile] appeal of the stop and frisk policy. The motion was filed [AP report] in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] in response to de Blasio's recent decision to drop the city's appeal. Police Commissioner William Bratton supported [AP report] de Blasio's decision to drop the appeal. Bloomberg staunchly supported the stop-and-frisk policy, but de Blasio made reforming the policy a major component of his campaign. The unions claim the settlement shed a negative light on police officers by declaring their policy unconstitutional and requiring an oversight panel over the police departments. Even though the city is withdrawing their appeal, the unions argue that the appeals court ruling should still be reviewed.

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. De Blasio's decision to drop the appeal was announced [JURIST report] earlier this week. 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.

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