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Terms of stop and frisk settlement detailed in letter

New York City cops must explain why they stop or frisk a civilian, supervisors have to review the legality of those stops and, for up to a year, patrol officers in one precinct of each borough will wear body cameras.

Those are some of the terms to which the NYPD agreed as part of the settlement of a landmark federal lawsuit. In 2013, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan ruled that police officers' broad use of the practice of stopping and frisking was unconstitutional and racially discriminatory.

The terms and new practices, noted in a letter dated Friday and filed Monday with the federal court from the appointed monitor, Peter L. Zimroth, will be drilled into officers. The terms include reading the documents aloud for 10 consecutive roll calls at the start of their shifts, and posting the papers conspicuously.

Other reforms include changing the process for disciplining officers whose poor conduct was substantiated after they were reported to the Civilian Complaint Review Board. The NYPD also must track and investigate civilian complaints of racial profiling.

The body cameras provision is separate from the voluntary effort police brass started in November. The new program will be implemented in the precinct in each borough that generated the highest number of stops in 2012.

City officials could not be reached for comment on the agreement.

The document also outlines basic constitutional standards governing stop-and-frisk practices. It defines a "stop" as "an encounter between a police officer and a civilian" when a reasonable person would not feel free to walk away.

The letter explains when a stop may be conducted -- "when an officer has individualized, reasonable suspicion that the person stopped has committed, is committing, or is about to commit" a crime.

It also says when frisking is allowed: "The officer must have an independent basis to reasonably suspect that a person who has been stopped is armed and dangerous."


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