The Bloomberg administration took its first step this week in attempting to overturn the federal court decision that ruled stop-and-frisk unconstitutional, filing a request that would halt the court’s mandated reforms until the city can appeal the case.
Attorney Michael Cardozo wrote that the city was requesting the delay–officially known as a stay– “because we believe that the District Court Orders are erroneous as matters of law, and because implementation of the broad-sweeping panoply of remedies based on such errors are likely to cause irreparable harm to defendants and the public safety.”
Specifically, the city expressed doubts over the court-ordered retraining of cops to bring stop-and-frisk within constitutional bounds, arguing that “not only will defendants be harmed by having to train on what they believe are errors of law, should defendants later prevail on the appeal, the officers will have to be retrained again, undoubtedly leading to severe and possibly irreparable disruption and confusion among the rank and file.”
Judge Shira Scheindlin, who made the anti-stop-and-frisk ruling in the first place, will have to approve the stay in order for it to go through, boding well for opponents of the police tactic. Should Scheindlin deny the request, the city can file for a stay with the Court of Appeals.
Either way, it will be a long battle over stop-and-frisk. Fortunately, the Community Safety Act, which imposes limits on the practice independent of the court’s ruling, was upheld by City Council last week.