New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration filed a late-night request to vacate the August 2013 ruling calling for an overhaul to local police's "stop and frisk" policy.
The New York Times reported on Saturday that the corporation counsel of the City of New York has asked a federal appeal court to clear Judge Shira A. Scheindlin's verdict, in which she determined that the policy, long championed by Bloomberg and NYPD Chief Ray Kelly, violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment.
Scheindlin also ordered that the department be monitored by an independent observer, attorney Peter L. Zimroth, to ensure it complies with the process. But a three-judge federal panel decided on Oct. 31 to remove her from the case altogether while blocking the ruling, arguing that she presented the appearance of lacking impartiality in a series of news interviews concerning the policy.
Corporation counsel Michael A. Cardozo wrote in the city's request that Scheindlin's ruling "lend credence to the notion that the N.Y.P.D. unfairly targets minorities for stops and frisks, undermining its ability to carry out its mission effectively."
The Times also noted that if the city's request is upheld, that would prevent Bloomberg's successor, mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, from withdrawing the appeal preventing Scheindlin's decisions from taking effect. De Blasio reiterated his opposition to the policy in an interview with the Times on Friday.
"I've said from the beginning: if the Bloomberg administration had paid attention to the concerns of communities all over New York City and had paid attention to Judge Scheindlin's concerns, we would have had action a year or two ago, and there never would have been a court order, and there never would have been a monitor," de Blasio was quoted as saying.
Scheindlin's own attorney, Burt Neuborne, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that the city's request amounted to an attempt to bring "character assassination into the judicial process" and misconstrue the panel's ruling.
"At worst, the panel accused the judge of conduct that might cause the appearance of lack of neutrality," Neuborne told the AP in a statement. "The panel did not even suggest that the district judge was actually biased."
[Image via Agence France-Presse]