This monitorship arose out of three lawsuits that challenged the NYPD’s practices and policies, which have now been combined and are part of the monitor effort. Floyd v. City of New York is a class action lawsuit challenging the NYPD’s “stop, question and frisk” policies and practices. Ligon v. City of New York is a class action lawsuit challenging the NYPD’s criminal trespass enforcement in and around certain private multiple dwelling buildings enrolled in the Trespass Affidavit Program (TAP). TAP (also known as Operation Clean Halls) was a program in which residential building owners authorized the NYPD to conduct patrol activities inside and around their buildings. Finally, Davis v. City of New York is a class action lawsuit that challenged stops and arrests for criminal trespass in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) buildings.
In August 2013, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York found that the policies and practices of the NYPD relating to stop, question and frisk were unconstitutional. More specifically, the court found that police officers were stopping and frisking individuals in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because they were making stops without reasonable suspicion that the persons stopped were engaged in criminal activity or that they were armed and dangerous. The court also ruled that the Department’s actions violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because police were making stops and conducting frisks based on the race or ethnicity of the individuals being stopped or frisked, and thus that the stops were discriminatory.
The court issued an order setting out the remedies the NYPD must take so that officers’ actions will meet the requirements of federal and New York law. The cCourt did not prohibit the use of stops, frisks, and searches. But the cCourt did require that any use of these tools must meet constitutional standards. The measures required by the court include, among other things, changes to NYPD policies, training, supervision, auditing, how the NYPD handles complaints and discipline, and performance objectives and evaluation. The NYPD was also required to establish a pilot program for officers to wear body-worn cameras (BWCs). The court appointed an Independent Monitor, Peter Zimroth, to oversee the court-ordered reforms.
Peter Zimroth served as Monitor from August 2013 until he passed away on November 8, 2021. Mr. Zimroth was a champion of public service who believed the law was a tool for social good.
We thank him for his service.
On January 13, 2022, the court appointed Mylan Denerstein to succeed Mr. Zimroth.