A U.S. appeals court froze court-ordered reforms to the New York City Police Department’s stop-and-frisk program and removed the judge who found the police tactic unconstitutional, saying she “ran afoul” of the judicial code of conduct.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling was at least a temporary victory for Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the NYPD, who have argued that stopping, questioning and frisking suspicious people has led to a steep decline in crime rates.
The three-judge panel’s ruling had no implications for the merits of the case and instead was a rebuke of U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin. The judges faulted Scheindlin for failing to appear impartial in public statements and media interviews in which she answered critics of her ruling.
Just two months ago, Scheindlin became a hero of civil rights and civil liberties groups when she struck down parts of stop-and-frisk, ruling that it amounted to “indirect racial profiling” that resulted in the disproportionate and discriminatory stopping of blacks and Hispanics. She also ordered a federal monitor to oversee changes to NYPD practices.