In a surprise ruling earlier this evening, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit temporarily blocked an earlier federal ruling that would have curtailed the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy.
While the decision is a significant win for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the man most likely to lead City Hall in 2014 isn’t on board.
“I’m extremely disappointed in today’s decision,” Democratic mayoral nominee Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “We shouldn’t have to wait for reforms that both keep our communities safe and obey the Constitution. 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.”
A spokesman for Mr. de Blasio, Dan Levitan, told Politicker that Mr. de Blasio was standing by his previous vow to abandon the city’s appeal of the initial ruling by Judge Shira Scheindlin, who found the city’s current implementation of stop-and-frisk unconstitutional. Ms. Scheindlin had also ordered a series of reforms, including installing an outside lawyer to monitor the NYPD practice, creating a personal camera pilot program for police officers and convening community meetings to solicit public comments on the police department’s tactics.
Meanwhile, Joe Lhota, Mr. de Blasio’s Republican rival who distantly trails in the polls, vowed tonight to continue the city’s appeal, which won’t reach the oral argument phase until March of 2014–well into the next mayor’s term.
“Bravo!” exclaimed Mr. Lhota in a statement. “The ruling by the nation’s second highest court was an unprecedented rejection of both the result of the case and the manner with which it was achieved. From Day One, I have stood with Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly in support of these proactive policies that have saved countless lives. The court has vindicated our positions.”
“This was a critical first step toward uncuffing the NYPD, but we cannot stop here,” continued Mr. Lhota, slamming Mr. de Blasio’s “naïve public safety approach.” “The next mayor absolutely must continue this appeal. New Yorkers need to know when they go into the voting booth on Tuesday that a vote for me is a vote for a safe city.”
The Second Court has only granted a stay and has not yet evaluated whether Ms. Scheindlin was correct in her initial ruling. Today’s decision was somewhat remarkable, however, in that it removed Ms. Scheindlin from the case as she “ran afoul” of the judicial code of conduct by showing an “appearance of partiality.”
View today’s decision below: