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Covington Helps Secure Class Certification in Suit Challenging NYPD Stop-and-Frisk Policies

May 16, 2012

NEW YORK, May 16, 2012 — A federal judge today granted class certification in a lawsuit challenging the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policies and practices as unconstitutional and racially discriminatory in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. The ruling in Floyd v. City of New York, et al. (S.D.N.Y.) allows anyone who was unlawfully stopped and frisked since January 2005 to be a plaintiff in the lawsuit. The plaintiffs are represented by Covington & Burling, the Center of Constitutional Rights and Beldock Levine & Hoffman LLP.

In 2011, the NYPD reported a record 685,724 stops—a 600 percent increase since 2002. Among those stopped, 84 percent were Black or Latino, and 88 percent of the stops did not result in arrests or summonses.

“As Judge Scheindlin found, between 2004 and 2009, the NYPD conducted at least 170,000 stops that, based on the NYPD’s own documentation, were unconstitutional,” said Philip A. Irwin, a Covington partner working on the case. “The Court further found that there was ‘overwhelming evidence’ that ‘the dramatic increase in stops since 2004 is a direct consequence of a centralized and city-wide program.’ We look forward to trial and the opportunity to vindicate the constitutional rights of all New Yorkers to be free from suspicionless stops and frisks.”

The New York-based Covington team consists of Philip Irwin, Eric Hellerman, Gretchen Hoff Varner, Kasey Martini, and Dan George.

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