This is one of four ongoing cases challenging the constitutionality of the New York Police Department's "Stop and Frisk" program. See: Ligon v. City of New York (PN-NY-0014
); Daniels v. City of New York (PN-NY-0010
); and Davis v. City of New York (PN-NY-0013
On January 31, 2008, four African-American men who had been stopped and frisked in the City of New York brought this class action § 1983 suit against the City in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs, represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights ("CCR") and private counsel, asked the court for declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief, claiming that the City had engaged in unconstitutional racial profiling. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the City had implemented and was continuing to enforce, encourage and sanction a policy and practice of unconstitutional "stop and frisks" by the New York Police Department ("NYPD"), targeting black and Latino residents without the reasonable articulable suspicion required by the Fourth Amendment.
The CCR previously litigated the same issue in Daniels v. City of New York
, No. 1:99-cv-01695 (PN-NY-0010
), eventually reaching a settlement agreement with the City in 2003 that required the NYPD to establish a written policy against racial profiling and to submit data on its stop-and-frisks quarterly to the CCR until 2007. When the CCR came to the conclusion that the data demonstrated a continued unconstitutional use of race in deciding whom to stop and frisk, it filed this action.
On the same day that the complaint was filed, the Court (Judge Shira A. Scheindlin) granted an expedited motion by the plaintiffs to retain documentation that the City had produced as defendant in Daniels and that they still held.
On June 2, 2008, the plaintiffs filed a motion to compel discovery of other City documents with information on stop-and-frisks, including documents that plaintiffs had returned to the City under the terms of the Daniels settlement. The Court (Judge Scheindlin) granted the motion on September 10, compelling the disclosure of all documentation desired by the plaintiffs except for the names or individuals stopped by the police and the names of reporting or reviewing officers. Floyd v. City of N.Y.
, No. 1:08-cv-01034, 2008 WL 4179210, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68798 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 10, 2008).
Discovery disputes continued over the course of the next three years. On May 21, 2009, the City requested sanctions against one of the plaintiffs for spoliation and perjury, and on March 15, 2010, the plaintiffs moved for sanctions against the defendants for failing to comply with the Court's discovery orders. (No resolution to the City's request appears on the docket, and the plaintiffs withdrew their motion for sanctions without prejudice to renewal on June 24.) On June 25, 2010, the Court (Judge Scheindlin) ordered the City to continue making disclosures on ongoing Internal Affairs Bureau investigations of claims of racial quotas being used by the NYPD. Floyd v. City of N.Y., 739 F. Supp. 2d 376 (S.D.N.Y. 2010).
On February 24, 2011, the City moved for summary judgment, and on August 31 the Court (Judge Scheindlin) granted in part and denied in part the City's motion. Floyd v. City of N.Y., 813 F. Supp. 2d 417 (S.D.N.Y. 2011)
. It held that the City was entitled to summary judgment on the individual claims of plaintiff Floyd, but that it was not so entitled on the claims of the other plaintiffs or on the class claims of racial profiling under Title VI and the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. The plaintiffs moved for reconsideration, and on November 23, 2011, the Court (Judge Scheindlin) found that new evidence presented by plaintiffs created a dispute of fact that called into question the reasonableness of the NYPD's stop-and-frisk of plaintiff Floyd, and thus reinstated Floyd's individual claims. Floyd v. City of N.Y., 813 F.Supp.2d 457 (S.D.N.Y. 2011)
Discovery disputes continued, and the City moved to exclude the testimony of Columbia professor Jeffrey Fagan. The Court for the most part denied the City's motion on April 16, 2012, admitting Fagan's disparate treatment analysis, much of his reasonable suspicion analysis, a modified version of his classification system, and his opinion regarding the results of the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy. Floyd v. City of N.Y.
, No. 1:08-cv-01034, 2012 WL 1344514, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53249 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 16, 2012).
On May 16, 2012, the Court (Judge Scheindlin) granted certification of the plaintiff class. Floyd v. City of N.Y.
, No. 1:08-cv-01034, 2012 WL 1868637, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68676 (S.D.N.Y. May 16, 2012). On October 10, 2012, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (Judge John M. Walker, Jr. and Judge Christopher F. Droney) denied the City's motion to appeal the district court's grant of class certification.
The case headed to bench trial before Judge Scheindlin. On January 22, 2013, Judge Scheindlin had granted the City's request for a stay pending a final decision regarding the appropriate scope of preliminary injunctive relief in Ligon, but denied postponement of the trial. The plaintiffs agreed to dismiss their individual damage claims, so trial proceeded on the class-based injunctive issues, only. That trial was held beginning March 2013; proceedings took over 30 days, and concluded in May 2013. In July, the U.S. Department of Justice appeared in the case by filing a "Statement of Interest". Represented by the Civil Rights Division (not the U.S. Attorney, which ordinarily represents the U.S. in the Southern District of New York), DOJ took no position on whether the NYPD should be held liable, but opined that a monitorship-type remedy was often useful and certainly authorized, in systemic police misconduct cases.
On August 12, 2013, following the nine-week trial, Judge Scheindlin held that the City of New York violated the plaintiffs' rights under the Fourth Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Judge Scheindlin issued two opinions finding the NYPD liable, ordering changes to the department's stop and frisk procedures, and appointing a monitor to oversee the changes. Floyd v. City of New York
, 959 F.Supp.2d 540 (S.D.N.Y. 2013)
and 959 F.Supp.2d 668 (S.D.N.Y. 2013)
. Judge Scheindlin held that the NYPD violated the plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment rights, due to the department officials' deliberate indifference regarding the officers' clearly unconstitutional searches and the fact that the searches were so widespread that they held the force of law. Further, the NYPD violated the plaintiffs' Fourteenth Amendment rights by subjecting them to the indirectly racially-targeted searches and by displaying deliberate indifference to the discriminatory nature of these searches. In other words, Judge Scheindlin found that the searches violated the plaintiffs' Fourteenth Amendment rights regardless of whether the disparate result of the search policy was intentional.
Beyond the findings of law, Judge Scheindlin also issued an order setting forth the procedures that the NYPD must adopt to remedy the situation. The order mandated that a monitor would be appointed to oversee reforms. The monitor will be tasked with consulting with the parties to develop "a set of reforms of the NYPD's policies, training, supervision, monitoring, and discipline regarding stop and frisk." As a monitor, she chose Peter Zimroth, former New York Corporation Counsel and former First Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan.
On October 31, 2013, the Second Circuit granted the City’s motion for a stay and ordered that the cases be reassigned from Judge Scheindlin to another district judge. The Second Circuit wrote that the "District Judge ran afoul of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges" in (a) speaking to the press and (b) encouraging the plaintiffs' counsel in Daniels
to file the Floyd
litigation, separately, rather than litigating racial profiling as part of Daniels
-- particularly in stating that she would treat the new case as related. 538 F. App'x 101 (2d Cir. 2013).
After the Second Circuit ruled, both Floyd
and Ligon were reassigned (as related) to District Judge Analisa Torres. On November 13, 2013, the Court of Appeals rejected Judge Scheindlin's motion asking to be heard on the disqualification issue and clarified the reason for reassigning the case. The Second Circuit held that the rationale for the reassignment was an appearance of impropriety, not its actual presence. 736 F.3d 118 (2d Cir. 2013).
In the meantime, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio was elected, and took a very different approach to these cases. See Ligon
for the rest of the proceedings in this case. In 2014, the parties settled the case. As of April 1, 2016, the parties are working to implement the terms of the settlement. Emily Goldman - 10/31/2012
Jonathan Forman - 08/15/2013
Jessica Kincaid - 04/01/2016