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Court monitor finds NYPD still in need of reform to ensure constitutional policing
© WikiMedia (André Gustavo Stumpf)
Court monitor finds NYPD still in need of reform to ensure constitutional policing

An independent monitor has found that despite the adoption of improved policies and new training material, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) is still not performing as it should to reduce the incidence of unconstitutional stops and arrests.

In a status report filed in federal district court on Friday, Peter Zimroth discussed the department’s compliance with court orders issued in three civil rights lawsuits—Daniels v. City of New York, Floyd v. City of New York and Ligon v. City of New York—filed against the city between 1999 and 2012.

Analyzing information gathered directly by his team in addition to data provided by the NYPD, Zimroth highlighted several areas of concern. He noted in particular “the persistent problem of underreporting of stops and the failure of supervisors to deal with that underreporting.” Zimroth observed that in 2017—when the NYPD had more than 22,000 patrol officers and sergeants—only 11,629 stops were recorded. Zimroth also expressed concern over “the quality of the stop reports that are filed.” The data indicate that NYPD officers failed to articulate reasonable suspicion on 17.6 percent of all stop reports in the second quarter of 2018 and that supervisors responsible for reviewing those reports only found 0.55 percent of them deficient.

While he stressed the need for remedial action, Zimroth commended the NYPD for its progress in other areas. He acknowledged, for example, that the department has developed “a substantial amount of training material,” implemented a new performance evaluation system, and equipped officers with body cameras “in the majority of commands.” Zimroth concluded the report by stating that future assessments will focus on how the reforms implemented thus far and those still being planned “translate into constitutional and respectful policing in the street.”