Momentum to rein in the NYPD's controversial stop-and-frisk practice was temporarily stalled by the "tragic assassination of two police officers" last year, the de Blasio administration's top lawyer said yesterday.
Corporation Counsel Zachary W. Carter was referring to the slayings in December of two NYPD officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, who were shot dead in Brooklyn by what officials called a deranged gunman who took his own life minutes afterward.
"Because of incidents totally unrelated to stop and frisk, you know, like the tragic assassination of two officers back in December of 2014, there were things that interrupted that momentum," Carter told a breakfast held by the Citizens Budget Commission, a nonpartisan watchdog group.
Carter, a former judge and federal prosecutor, had helped settle a long-standing constitutional challenge to the NYPD practice of stopping and frisking mostly black and Latino young men, a program defended by Mayor Bill de Blasio's predecessor, Mike Bloomberg, as legal and vital to crime control.
Under the deal, de Blasio agreed to a monitor to oversee changes and a pilot program to equip some cops with body cameras.
"I think we're now safely back on track," Carter said of the deal's implementation, which, he said, "is going as well as anyone might imagine."
The numbers of stop-and-frisk between civilians and police encounters hit a high in 2011 of nearly 700,000 and went down to 46,235 last year, according to mayoral spokeswoman Monica Klein.