Who is the monitor and who else is on the monitor team?
Peter L. Zimroth is the monitor. He has been a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the chief assistant district attorney in Manhattan and the City’s corporation counsel, as well as a defense lawyer. Richard Jerome is the deputy monitor. He was the deputy monitor in two police reform settlements in Cincinnati, a deputy associate attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice and a project manager for the Pew Charitable Trusts for its public safety performance project.
Other members of the monitor team are Anthony Braga, a professor of criminology at Rutgers University and a senior research fellow in criminal justice policy at Harvard University; Edward Davis, the former police commissioner for the Boston Police Department and superintendent of the Lowell Police Department; Jennifer Eberhardt, a social psychologist at Stanford University and a national expert on implicit bias; John MacDonald, chair of the Department of Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania; James McCabe, formerly a police executive with NYPD and now a professor at Sacred Heart University; and Jane Perlov, who served as the Secretary of Public Safety for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and as the police chief in Raleigh, North Carolina, and who began her policing career at the NYPD.
For summary bios of the monitor and monitor team members click here.
How did this monitorship come about?
On August 2013, the federal district court found that the policies and practices of the New York City Police Department (NYPD or Department) relating to stop, question and frisk were unconstitutional. The court found that police were stopping and frisking individuals in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because they were making stops without reasonable suspicion that the persons stopped were engaged in criminal activity or that they were armed and dangerous. The court also ruled that the Department’s actions violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because police were making stops and frisks based on the race or ethnicity of the individuals being stopped or frisked, and thus the stops were discriminatory. The court issued an order specifying remedies and appointing a monitor. Based on findings in a second case dealing with trespass enforcement in private apartment buildings, the court order specified additional remedies relating to those activities. Finally, the City and the NYPD settled a third case dealing with trespass enforcement in buildings owned by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and agreed on additional remedies relating to that case and the appointment of the same monitor as in the other cases.
What do the court orders require?
The court orders set out the measures the NYPD must take so that officers’ actions will meet the requirements of federal and New York law. The measures include changes to NYPD policies, training, auditing, how NYPD handles complaints and discipline, and performance objectives and evaluation. The NYPD must also establish a pilot program for officers to wear body-worn cameras. New York City and the NYPD withdrew an appeal and agreed to implement the changes required by the court orders.
What does the monitor do?
As part of the remedial order, the court appointed an independent monitor to oversee the reform process. The monitor’s responsibility is to develop, in consultation with the NYPD and counsel for plaintiffs, a set of reforms of the NYPD’s policies, training, supervision, auditing, and handling of complaints and discipline regarding stops and frisks and trespass enforcement. The monitor must also assess progress on the NYPD’s implementation of these reforms and report to the court twice a year on the City’s compliance with the court orders.
To evaluate whether the required changes are being implemented, the monitor conducts a number of reviews, audits and assessments. These include reviewing NYPD policies, observing training, meeting with police executives and rank and file, and examining NYPD records and data. The monitor also meets with counsel for the plaintiffs and many community organizations.
The court also appointed a facilitator to obtain input from the community and criminal justice stakeholders on potential reforms, as part of what the court labeled a “Joint Remedial Process.” A description of the Joint Remedial Process and information on the facilitator, Judge Ariel Belen (ret.), can be found here.
Why are there three cases?
Three cases that challenged the NYPD’s practices and policies have now been combined and are part of the monitor effort. Floyd v. City of New York is a class action lawsuit challenging the NYPD’s “stop, question and frisk” policies and practices. Ligon v. City of New York is a class action lawsuit challenging the NYPD’s criminal trespass enforcement in and around certain private multiple dwelling buildings enrolled in the Trespass Affidavit Program (TAP). TAP (also known as Operation Clean Halls) is a program in which building owners authorize the NYPD to conduct patrol activities inside and around their buildings, including, in some buildings, floor-to-floor inspections, called interior patrols or vertical patrols. Davis v. City of New York is a class action lawsuit that challenged stops and arrests for criminal trespass in NYCHA buildings. To read relevant court opinions and orders click here.