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Professor Taja-Nia Henderson Appointed to Panel to Advise on NYPD "Stop and Frisk" Practices' Reform

September 27, 2013 – 

Taja-Nia Y. Henderson, Associate Professor at Rutgers School of Law–Newark, has been selected to serve on a court-appointed Academic Advisory Council that will seek the input of a broad range of stakeholders to help develop and implement reforms to the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) controversial “stop-and-frisk” policy.

The Council was appointed by the Hon. Shira Scheindlin, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, who in August ruled that the City’s stop-and-frisk practices violate the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution (Floyd v. City of New York). The opinion found that the City “adopted a policy of indirect racial profiling” that resulted in “the disproportionate and discriminatory stopping of blacks and Hispanics.”

Judge Scheindlin did not find that stop-and-frisk is unconstitutional but ordered several remedial measures “to ensure that the practice is carried out in a manner that protects the rights and liberties of all New Yorkers, while still providing much needed police protection.” Among these measures were the appointments of Peter L. Zimroth, a Partner at Arnold & Porter LLP and former Corporation Counsel for the City of New York, as an independent monitor of the reform process and Nicholas Turner, President and Director of the Vera Institute of Justice, as facilitator of a community-based remedial process to develop “sustainable reforms.”

The Academic Advisory Council is comprised of 13 law professors from who will work pro bono to support Zimroth and Turner in overseeing the reform process. Other members hail from Brooklyn Law School, Columbia Law School, CUNY School of Law, Fordham University School of Law, Hofstra University Law School, and Yale Law School.

This past summer, Henderson was a J. Willard Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History Fellow at the University of Wisconsin Law School. She was one of 12 rising scholars from around the world selected to participate in the biennial Hurst Summer Institute.

Professor Henderson joined the Rutgers faculty in 2010 from Arnold & Porter LLP in New York. Her teaching and research interests are in slavery, social control organizations, the civil and political disabilities associated with criminal convictions, and property.