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Police Unions Can't Block Stop and Frisk Settlement, Plan to Appeal

By William Peacock, Esq. | Last updated on

"Stop and frisk" just got one step closer to becoming a sad, unconstitutional footnote in the annals of New York City, though it seems my fellow blogger's predictions proved prescient:

"Well, we're of the opinion that no matter what decision the district court comes to regarding whether law enforcement associations can intervene, someone's going to have a problem with it. If the district court does not allow them to intervene, they [the police unions] will appeal.

Yep. U.S. District Court Judge Analisa Torres denied the police unions' attempt to intervene and block the "stop and frisk" settlement last week. As predicted, Patrick Lynch, president of the city Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, one of five unions that sought to intervene, said the union would ask the Second Circuit to overturn Torres' ruling, reports Reuters.

No Seat at the Table

The unions sought to intervene in the case, arguing that the settlement affected their ability to carry out their jobs safely. Judge Torres disagreed, holding that the union lacked standing to litigate police department policies.

"The unions seek an appeal the city no longer wants to pursue in order to vindicate a policy the city no longer wants to implement," Torres wrote in her opinion.

The settlement between the city and the plaintiffs came after Mayor Bill de Blasio took office earlier this year. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg appealed a district court's ruling against the city, which held that the stop and frisk policy was, in essence, racial profiling. Mayor de Blasio dropped the appeal and the Second Circuit remanded the case in order to allow the parties to reach a settlement earlier this year.

As we reported at the time, the police unions then sought to intervene, seeking a "seat at the table."

Is This the End?

Like my fellow blogger said, this is not quite the end, but we're getting warmer. If the unions follow through on their threat (and there is no reason to believe that they won't do so), they will appeal the standing ruling to the Second Circuit. Depending on how that shakes out, the union could then potentially be allowed to intervene and tank the settlement, though that seems unlikely at this point.

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