Peter Zimroth, an adjunct professor and former tenured faculty at NYU Law, has been named the court-appointed monitor of the New York City Police Department in connection with Floyd v. the City of New York and related cases, decided this week in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices violated the Fourth Amendment and also amounted to “indirect racial profiling” of black and Hispanic men. Scheindlin appointed Zimroth to monitor the police’s compliance with her ruling.
Zimroth, a partner since 1990 at Arnold & Porter and a leading litigator in products liability, commercial, securities, and white-collar crime issues, will work with the NYPD and other involved parties to bring the department’s practices and policies in line with the Southern District ruling. He was previously an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District and chief assistant district attorney in the office of Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau before becoming New York City’s corporation counsel in the mayoral administration of Edward Koch ’48. As an NYU Law professor in the 1970s, Zimroth represented David Durk, an NYPD detective-turned-whistleblower who, together with Officer Frank Serpico, helped to expose rampant corruption in the police ranks. Zimroth, who will teach the Law of NYC Seminar this fall at the Law School with William T. Comfort, III Professor of Law Roderick Hills Jr., was recently named by Governor Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to the Commission to Investigate Public Corruption.
In his pro bono work, Zimroth has taken a strong interest in civil liberties, representing a Muslim congregation that had faced prejudice when it attempted to create a mosque in Bridgewater, New Jersey. (He wrote about why he undertook that case in a New York Law Journal piece, "The Case That Makes a Lawyer's Life Meaningful.") In a New York Times interview, he recalled that his stint as the city’s top lawyer had instilled in him a “tremendous respect for the Police Department,” adding, “I have always believed that effective law enforcement is very important—it’s crucial—but so is the need for law enforcement officials to act within the law and the Constitution. And I don’t think they are in conflict.”
Posted on August 16, 2013