The court-appointed monitor of NYPD stop-and-frisk practices has filed a new reporting form that encourages officers to write a narrative of the reasons for a stop instead of relying on checkboxes with overused explanations like “furtive movement.”
In a filing with Manhattan U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres, monitor Peter Zimroth said the NYPD plans to requisition and distribute 50,000 of the forms in the next four to six weeks.
In addition to “furtive movements,” the form also eliminates boxes for other frequently cited rationales for a stop, such as “suspicious bulge” and “high crime area.”
“Once the new form is in use, officers will be required to provide descriptions of the movements that contributed to the officer’s suspicions and not merely to check a box,” Zimroth told the judge.
The new forms are one result of a federal lawsuit claiming the city conducted thousands of stops without legally required “reasonable suspicion,” and targeted minorities.
Lawyers who brought the suit praised the change.
“Having a new narrative section on the stop forms means officers actually have to explain why they stopped someone,” said Darius Charney, a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Although changes are now being implemented as part of a settlement entered into by Mayor Bill de Blasio, reforms were initially ordered by Manhattan U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin, who was later removed from the case for alleged bias.
Scheindlin announced in a letter to other judges on Wednesday that she was leaving the bench after 21 years, and planned to work as a mediator along with handling public interest and commercial matters.