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Continuing to Reform the NYPD's Stop and Frisk Practice

Jenn Rolnick Borchetta
When we agreed to help reform the NYPD’s stop and frisk practice in the landmark class action Floyd v. the City of New York, we knew we were taking on a great responsibility. Years of racially targeted and unlawful police stops dehumanized untold numbers of Black and Latino people, eroding on a mass scale basic rights that should be fundamental in our democracy.
The reform work has been hard and sometimes halting, but we are happy to share that more change has come to policing in New York City. 
Today, the court-appointed monitor in the Floyd case filed his second report on the status of reforms. He recaps what has been done since his first report last summer—new stop and frisk and anti-bias based policing policies; developments in procedures and practices related to auditing, complaint investigation, supervision, accountability and performance evaluations; totally revamped trainings for thousands of cadets and trainings in the making for the rest of the 36,000 members of the force. We applaud what the NYPD has accomplished so far.
And there’s more. Through forty facilitated conversations in the Floyd community input process, hundreds of people affected by the NYPD’s unconstitutional stop and frisk policy have given their views on what changes should be made to NYPD practices. Next up in this process: broader meetings with community stakeholders and structured community forums that must help turn these voices into concrete reforms, to be so-ordered by the Court. 
As the Monitor says in this report, policies on paper only change so much. Despite a number of changes made last year, audits show persistent problems, such as officers not recording stop encounters or not articulating sufficient reasons for stops; supervisors not monitoring officer conduct; a perception among some rank and file that they will be judged on how many stops they do, rather than the quality of their work.  
The Monitor reminds the NYPD of the responsibility of its leadership to give paper policies life in policing culture—to end racial profiling in principle so that it may end racial profiling in practice. 
Yes, this is true. And so too, we believe, the reforms we develop next in the Floyd remedial process can and must include structural changes that make constitutional and race-neutral stops a reality, regardless of who’s in charge. Toward that end, we filed a letter with the Court highlighting what we need to see in a number of reforms coming down the pike.
We never lose sight of our goal: To prevent racial profiling in street stops and to guarantee all of New York’s people equal civil rights—on paper and in practice.