NEW YORK — A federal appeals court on Thursday blocked a judge's ruling that found the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk policy was discriminatory and took the unusual step of removing her from the case, saying interviews she gave during the trial called her impartiality into question.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said the rulings by U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin will be stayed pending the outcome of an appeal by the city.
The judge ruled in August the city violated the Constitution in how it carried out its program of stopping and questioning people. The city appealed her findings and her remedial orders, including a decision to assign a monitor to help the Police Department change its policy and the training program associated with it.
During arguments, lawyers in the case said the Police Department hasn't had to do anything except meet with a monitor since the judge's decision. But the city said police officers are afraid to stop and frisk people now.
The three-judge appeals panel, which heard arguments on the requested stay Tuesday, said the judge needed to be removed because she compromised the need for a judge to avoid the appearance of partiality. It noted she had given interviews and public statements responding to criticism of the court.
The judge said Thursday that quotes from her written opinions gave the appearance she had commented on the case.