A federal appeals court blocked a ruling by Jude Shira A. Scheindlin Thursday, halting the reform of the New York City Police Department's controversial stop-and-frisk policy.
The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit removed Scheindlin from the case and criticized her for running “afoul” of the judiciary’s code of conduct by compromising the “appearance of impartiality surrounding this litigation.”
The panel said Scheindlin steered the lawsuit against the controversial practice into her courtroom when it was filed six years ago, according to the New York Times.
Floyd v. City of New York was filed in 2008 by the Center for Constitutional Rights alleging the program violates bother the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures and the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections against racially discriminatory policing.
Scheindlin ruled in August that that NYPD violated the civil rights of tens of thousands of New Yorkers through racial profiling, frisking “blacks and Hispanics who would not have been stopped if they were white.”
The controversial program has long been criticized by civil rights activists. Others defend the practice as the bastion of safety in NYC. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has called the stops an essential tool to cracking down on major crime in the city. NYPD claims the program takes guns off the streets.
When NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly attempted to give a speech on “Proactive Policing in America’s Biggest City” at Brown University Tuesday he was heckled off the stage.
Democratic nominee for mayor, Bill de Blasio, was “extremely disappointed” in the ruling.
“We have to end the overuse of stop-and-frisk, and any delay only means a continued and unnecessary rift between our police and the people they protect,” de Blasio told the Times.
He’s currently polling far ahead of his Republican oppoenent, Joseph Lhota, who was happy with the ruling on stop-and-frisk.
“As I have said all along, Judge Scheindlin’s biased conduct corrupted the case,” Lhota said in a statement, adding that the next mayor “absolutely must continue this appeal.”