NEW YORK—A New York City trial lawyer, Peter Zimroth, has been appointed by a federal judge to monitor the New York Police Department’s practice of stop-and-frisk.
The appointment was part of a judgment issued on Aug. 12 in U.S. District Court by Judge Shira A. Scheindlin. In two separate opinions, the judge ruled that the city’s stop-and-frisk policy violates the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and ordered measures to amend it.
Zimroth, who could not be reached for comment on Monday and is out of town until later in the week, is a partner at Arnold and Porter, LLP.
Before working for Arnold and Porter, Zimroth was corporation counsel of the City of New York, which is the city’s chief legal officer. The corporation counsel is head of the city’s law department. With more than 500 lawyers, it oversees all of the city’s legal business.
According to his bio on the Arnold and Porter website, Zimroth has also been chief assistant district attorney in Manhattan, the highest non-elected position in the district attorney’s office. He was also the architect of the city law for public financing of city elections, which has since become a national model.
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He specializes in products liability, commercial, securities, and white-collar crime.
At a Monday, Aug. 12 press conference, Mayor Michael Bloomberg cried foul over the judge’s decision.
“No federal judge has ever imposed a monitor over a city’s police department following a civil trial,” said Bloomberg. “The Department of Justice—under Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama—never, not once, found reason to investigate the NYPD.”
Bloomberg also said that the NYPD has the right to do their job “without being micro-managed and second-guessed every day by a judge or a monitor.”
At the same press conference, NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the appointment of a monitor was uncalled for.
“The appointment of a monitor, while unnecessary in this most monitored police department already, I believe will only document what we have known all along, that the New York City Police Department saves lives and that it trains its officers to do so lawfully and with full respect of the Constitution that serves and protects us all,” said Kelly.
Zimroth will have a narrow focus to ensure the city complies with reforming the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk. He will also have to monitor and devise immediate reforms to stop-and-frisk so it complies with the Constitution and state law.
As monitor, he will be responsible for working with the police, the city, and community groups to propose initial changes to policies, training, supervision, monitoring, and discipline regarding stop-and-frisk.