The Manhattan federal judge in the NYPD stop-and-frisk case Wednesday appointed a veteran criminal justice analyst who will involve all concerned groups in reforming the controversial police tactic.
In naming Nicholas Turner of Brooklyn to the "facilitator" post, Judge Shira Scheindlin touted his earlier work in managing projects on racial profiling in prosecutions, juvenile justice, domestic violence and safety in prisons. Turner became president and director of the Vera Institute of Justice in Manhattan in July.
In her decision last month, which found that the NYPD had implemented its stop-and-frisk procedures in a way that amounted to "indirect" racial profiling of blacks and Hispanics, Scheindlin ordered the appointment of a facilitator to help the NYPD, community and religious groups, and others get heard in the process of reforming police procedures.
As facilitator, Turner, whose father grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, will consult with former prosecutor Peter Zimroth, who Scheindlin appointed as a monitor over all reforms of stop and frisk. A graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, Turner was a law clerk earlier in his career for Brooklyn federal Judge Jack B. Weinstein.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for the NYPD and its efforts to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers," Turner, 46, said in a statement. "I also have deep respect for the insight that can only come from the residents of the communities where stop-and-frisk is most practiced."
Vera is a nonprofit organization that provides analysis and expertise to make courts, law enforcement agencies and social services fairer and more effective, Scheindlin said. In the early 1980s, Vera partnered with the NYPD to develop one of the first community policing programs in the United States, she said.
Scheindlin's recent decisions about stop-and-frisk are being appealed by the city, and it was unclear how that appeal, as well as the city's request for a stay, might affect the appointment of Turner and Zimroth in the weeks ahead.