Former Brooklyn Federal Court law clerk appointed as facilitator
By Charisma L. Miller, Esq.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
In a further attempt to reform the New York City Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy, Manhattan Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin has appointed a facilitator to oversee the community based remedial process.
In August, Scheindlin ruled that while it is not wholly unconstitutional, the NYPD’s policy to stop-and-frisk individuals based purely on a mere reasonable suspicion that a person had committed or was in the process of committing a crime, had been carried out in an unconstitutional manner and targeted an inordinate amount of black and Hispanic males. In order for the policy to remain in place, Scheindlin ordered that it be carried out in a constitutional manner.
To promote constitutionality, Scheindlin appointed an independent monitor to review NYPD policies and ensure that tactics and training adhere to the United State Constitution.
Scheindlin has gone a step further and, on Wednesday, supplemented her order of an independent monitor by adding a facilitator to assist in the remedial process.
Nicholas Turner, president and director of the nonprofit VERA Institute of Justice, has been appointed to the post. Turner, a former law clerk for Brooklyn Federal Judge Jack Weinstein, is known for his work with the homeless, at-risk-youth, and other community advocacy causes.
As Scheindlin noted in Wednesday’s order, New York based VERA Institute “is widely recognized for its use of rigorous testing and broad-based collaboration to help governments plan, implement and evaluate improvements to the justice system.”
VERA was instrumental in creating community policing programs in the 1980s, and VERA’s approach to effectuating “respectful and effective policing in minority communities,” is the reason why Scheindlin felt it appropriate to tap VERA’s president as facilitator to organize meetings in minority communities most affected by stop-and-frisk policies.