NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – New York City’s police unions are seeking to stop a federal monitor from overseeing the NYPD.
The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association filed motions Thursday in Manhattan federal court on behalf of four police unions, and the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association filed separately.
They took the first steps to appeal a federal judge’s decision last month on the department’s stop and frisk policy and are asking the court to intervene in the case.
Police have stopped, questioned and sometimes patted down about 5 million people over the past decade. The judge ruled that the policy violated the civil rights of hundreds of thousands of black and Hispanic men. She ordered a monitor to oversee changes to the policy including officer training, supervision, and paperwork.
If the motions are granted, the unions say they will allow them to have an active role in the appeal and any changes that come.
“Police officers, detectives, lieutenants and captains are the boots on the ground in the fight against crime and terrorism,” said Patrick Lynch, president of the patrolmen’s union, the largest in the country. “The establishment of a federal monitor may directly impact our members’ safety, day-to-day responsibilities, and collective bargaining and other rights. So we believe that we should have standing to participate in arguing the appeal in order to protect those rights.”
The police officers say in court papers that some of the changes proposed by the judge are not feasible for officers, and may lead to hastily-drafted accounts of encounters that could result in omissions and errors. Those problems could affect the officer down the road.
The city is appealing the ruling, and has asked the judge to hold off on implementing her ruling until their appeal is decided. But City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced plans last week to file a legal declaration with the court asking that the reforms the judge ordered be implemented right away.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other officials have credited the stop-and-frisk policy in part for a pronounced drop in the homicide rate. The city averages one homicide a day currently, compared to six in 1990.
Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly have repeatedly blasted those who say the police force engages in racial profiling while carrying out the stop-and-frisk policy.
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