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N.Y. City Intends to Appeal Ruling on Police Stop-&-Frisks

New York City intends to appeal a judge’s order blocking the city police practice of stopping individuals outside privately owned buildings in the Bronx.

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan on Jan. 8 ordered the New York Police Department to stop making so-called “trespass stops” outside buildings enrolled in the city’s Trespass Affidavit Program, or TAP, in the Bronx, without reasonable suspicion the people are on the property illegally. The practice violates the U.S. Constitution, she ruled.

“We are appealing because we believe this decision goes against well-established case law and the evidence before the court,” Heidi Grossman, a lawyer for the city. The city will take the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

The ruling came in one of three federal court challenges to NYPD “stop and frisk” practices before Scheindlin. The case was filed last year by a group of black and Latino residents.

TAP, formerly called “Operation Clean Halls,” permits the police to patrol participating private residential buildings. Scheindlin found that officers were violating the civil liberties of residents and visitors by stopping, frisking and questioning them without sufficient cause to believe they were trespassing.

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said in a statement that the program is intended to provide extra security for apartment buildings whose landlords request it.

Scheindlin scheduled a Jan. 31 hearing in the case and said she will hold a hearing to determine whether to order the police to adopt a written policy for stopping people on suspicion of trespass outside TAP buildings, to impose stricter supervision of the stops, and to order new training for officers.

The case is Ligon v. City of New York, 12-cv-2274, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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