Judge: Law professors to weigh in on stop-and-frisk

Chief of Department Joseph Esposito joins NYPD officers

Chief of Department Joseph Esposito joins NYPD officers and city officials on his penultimate day at the New York Police Department. (March 26, 2013) (Credit: Nancy Borowick)

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In addition to a federal judge, a court-appointed monitor and a community facilitator, the NYPD is going to have 13 law professors looking over its shoulder as it reforms stop-and-frisk policies, according to the latest ruling from U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin.

In an order issued Wednesday, one day after she refused to delay her stop-and-frisk decision pending appeal, Scheindlin named Bennett Capers of Brooklyn Law School to chair the so-called academic advisory council of professors in assisting with the "challenging tasks."

The panel includes Alafair Burke, a professor at Hofstra law school, as well as four Columbia professors, two Yale professors, and others from Fordham, City University of New York, Rutgers and Brooklyn law schools.

The 13, who Scheindlin said have "generously agreed to provide their expertise in a pro bono capacity," will assist former city lawyer Peter Zimroth, whom the judge named as her monitor to oversee reforms, and Nicholas Turner of the Vera Institute to facilitate community-based input.

In her ruling last month, Scheindlin said the NYPD's decadelong practice of street stops violated the Constitution because they targeted minorities and didn't always meet the legal standard of "reasonable suspicion."

She ordered changes in supervision, training and discipline to cut down on the improper stops, as well as a pilot program under which police officers will wear cameras to record their stops.

The city has appealed and says it will ask the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan to delay her decision until the appeal is heard.

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