Facilitator Named to Reform NYPD's Stop-and-Frisk Policy

One of his main duties will be to gather information from citizens about how to reform the controversial practice.

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Federal Judge Shira A. Scheindlin at a recent event (Boston Ediscovery Summit YouTube screenshot)

Federal Judge Shira A. Scheindlin on Wednesday named a community facilitator to aid a court-appointed monitor in modifying the New York City Police Department's controversial stop-and-frisk policy, the Daily News reports.

The community facilitator, Nicholas Turner, president of the Vera Institute of Justice, will help police monitor Peter Zimroth develop reforms to the policy, which Scheindlin last month ruled was unconstitutional.

One of Turner's main duties will be gathering information from affected citizens about how the practice should be reformed.

While Zimroth is working with lawyers for the plaintiffs, the city and the NYPD are to come up with immediate reforms to prevent the NYPD from doing stops that are unconstitutional.

The judge ordered Turner to work on longer-term fixes in coordination with community leaders and law enforcement personnel.

That will include convening "'town hall" type meetings in each of the five boroughs in order to provide a forum in which all stakeholders may be heard, the judge ordered last month.

He'll also work "with the parties to develop a time line, ground rules, and concrete milestones" for the proposed reforms, and draft recommendations for Zimroth's consideration.

Scheindlin ruled that police officers have for years stopped innocent people in the streets of New York City without reason. 

The city has asked Scheindlin to stay her ruling finding the NYPD engaged in a pattern of unconstitutional stops and appointing a monitor to make sure the agency reforms its practices. The judge isn't expected to issue a ruling on that request until later this month, after both sides submit filings on the issue, but Wednesday's ruling is an indication that she plans on proceeding full steam ahead.

If she rejects the city's request, lawyers would then be able to ask a federal appeals court for a stay.