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Police monitor recommends changes to NYPD Patrol Guide

An NYPD patrol car is seen in this

An NYPD patrol car is seen in this undated photo. Photo Credit: iStock

A police monitor recommended Friday that the NYPD change its Patrol Guide so that patrol officers will have a better understanding of when and how to detain and question people on the street.

Monitor Peter Zimroth said in a letter to a federal judge that officers had made it clear to him that they "want more guidance and instruction about what they can and cannot do under the law..."

His letter comes a month after he said that officers were not making stops of civilians, or were failing to document stops, because they feared making mistakes. The latest letter, accompanied by a draft of new Patrol Guide sections, makes clear that officers have no right to detain or frisk a person unless they suspect criminal activity.

Without indications of criminal activity, police cannot demand identification, and "the person may refuse to answer questions and/or walk or even run away," the draft patrol document said.

It also said that supervisors should -- where feasible -- respond to the scene of all stops, should review every stop-and-frisk report daily and should discuss any deficiencies in the paperwork with the officer.

A change to another section of the Patrol Guide would instruct officers that "race, color, ethnicity, or national origin" cannot be used as a sole basis for making a stop.

Officers who detain or frisk a person who is not arrested would be required, "when feasible and consistent with personal safety," to explain to the person why they were stopped.

If approved by the judge, the changes would take effect Sept. 21, according the draft Patrol Guide changes.

THE NYPD said in a statement that it "worked with the monitor and the parties on these new procedures which will be implemented as part of the ongoing remedial process in the stop, question and frisk litigation settlement."

The main police union, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, did not immediately comment.

Zimroth, an attorney with the Manhattan firm Arnold and Porter, was appointed police monitor by Judge Schira Scheindlin of U.S.District Court in Manhattan in 2013 after she ruled that the city's stop-and-frisk tactics violated the constitutional rights of minorities.

She found that 83 percent those stopped were blacks and Hispanics, more than half those stopped were frisked, and 1.5 percent of the frisks revealed weapons.

Zimroth's letter was address to U.S. District Court Judge Analisa Torres, who was assigned to the case after an appeals court found that Scheindlin compromised her appearance of impartiality by steering the case to her courtroom and commenting on it publicly.

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