Federal judge names community facilitator

In the wake of her ruling that the New York Police Department (NYPD) stop-and-frisk practices against Blacks and other minorities are unconstitutional, a United States federal district judge has appointed a community facilitator to help monitor the police.

U.S. District Judge in Manhattan, Shira Scheindlin, has named Nicholas Turner, president of the New York-based, nonprofit group, Vera Institute of Justice, as the facilitator who will help the monitor, Peter Zimroth, develop reforms of the NYPD.

In her ruling, Scheindlin said Turner has a record of success in dealing with cops and communities.

She said he has “initiated and managed projects on racial profiling in prosecution; safety in America’s prisons; sentencing reform; juvenile justice, and domestic violence.”

While Zimroth is working with lawyers for the plaintiffs, the city and the NYPD to come up with immediate reforms to stop the NYPD from making unconstitutional stops, the judge ordered Turner to work on longer-term reforms in coordination with community leaders and law-enforcement personnel.

That includes convening town hall-type meetings in each of the five boroughs of New York City to provide a forum in which all stakeholders may be heard.

Scheindlin said Turner also will work “with the parties to develop a time line, ground rules and concrete milestones” for proposed reforms, and draft recommendations for Zimroth’s consideration.

Turner said his priorities are “to get insight from residents in communities where stop-and-frisk is practiced” and to “work together” with residents, community leaders, cops and prosecutors.

“It was a great honor to be considered,” he said, adding, however, that “it’s a challenge I’m very much looking forward to.”

The Vera Institute of Justice had helped the NYPD develop its Community Patrol Officer Program in the early 1980s.

Late last month, Brooklyn Jumaane Williams welcomed New York City Council’s votes in overriding two bills that would rein in the policies of the NYPD against Caribbean immigrants, blacks and other minorities.

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