Floyd v. City of New York
NYC Stop & Frisk Litigation
Floyd v. City of New York is a landmark federal class action lawsuit brought by BLH attorneys to challenge “stop-and-frisk” policing in New York City. For the past two decades, the NYPD has disproportionately stopped and searched Black and Latino residents—who are subject to 85% of all stops-and-frisks—absent reasonable suspicion. In response, BLH partner Jonathan Moore and others filed the 1999 class action lawsuit Daniels v. City of New York, which argued that the NYPD’s practice of conducting stops-and-frisks violated minority New Yorkers’ Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. A settlement was reached in that case in 2003, which mandated that the NYPD implement policies expressly barring racial profiling and provide data regarding the nature of each stop-and-frisk encounter. When the data revealed little improvement, Mr. Moore led a team of civil rights attorneys from BLH, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Covington & Burling in filing Floyd.
After a nine-week trial in 2013, a federal judge held the City liable for violating the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights of countless citizens. The case is now in a remedial phase, as ordered by the District Court, overseen by a monitor. Mr. Moore and BLH associate Joshua Moskovitz are working closely with the court-appointed monitor to develop improved, non-discriminatory policies and training protocols for investigative encounters. They are the first policies that explain in detail the legal bounds in which police must operate in these situations. Furthermore, they incorporate a greater degree of supervision and a blanket prohibition on racial profiling.
The parties and members of the affected communities are also preparing for additional reforms through the Joint Remedial Process. This process involves focus groups comprised of those affected by stop-and-frisk, an advisory body of stakeholders to work with the court-appointed facilitator in identifying further needed reforms, and community forums and discussions. In the meantime, BLH attorneys continue to fight for more robust NYPD training and data collection with respect to stops and racial bias, as well as more robust supervision and appropriate consequences for unconstitutional stops.
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