01/31/2014 10:27 am ET Updated Apr 02, 2014

A Victory for All New Yorkers, Stop and Frisk Reforms Move Forward

My remarks from press conference with Mayor de Blasio on January 30, 2014, announcing agreement to drop the City's appeal in Floyd v. City of New York.

Next week will mark the 15th anniversary of the murder of Amadou Diallo, who was standing in the doorway of his own building when he was gunned down in a hail of 41 bullets by New York City Police officers as he reached for his wallet. Today is a significant day in the fight for accountability for decades of discriminatory and unconstitutional policing in our city. After years of resistance from the previous administrations, we stand here today with the new administration, announcing an agreement to drop the appeal of the landmark ruling in Floyd v. City of New York, accept the findings of the district court, and proceed with the reform process the court ordered. This is a major step, but I want to emphasize that it is the road ahead that is the most important one. We have a tremendous opportunity to make our city better and safer. We must not squander it. We need to bring all the stakeholders to the table and work on real reforms with real accountability.

For many New Yorkers, the Diallo killing crystalized the relationship between the police and communities of color. So together with grassroots groups like the National Congress of Puerto Rican Rights and Malcom X Grassroots Movement, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed Daniels v. City of New York. The infamous Street Crime Unit was disbanded, and we reached a settlement with the City in 2003.

But change did not happen, constitutional violations continued, and we were forced to go back to court, to file Floyd v. City of New York. For 14 years we fought in court, and we fought an intransigent city administration unwilling to admit there was a problem let alone work toward a solution. Eleven years ago we were at this very point, but the difference now is that unlike his predecessors, Mayor de Blasio has named the problem, and promised to drop the appeal and to embrace reform. Our job is to hold the mayor and the police commissioner accountable to these promises.

We will have a collaborative reform process that makes sure all stakeholders, including our community partners and activists, have a say in what the reforms will look like, and we will have a court monitor to make sure these reforms move forward.

This is where the real work begins. Nobody standing here today is pretending this is Mission Accomplished. The problem hasn't been solved. The reality is tomorrow, a kid will be humiliated on his way home from school or someone on their way to the store will get stopped and frisked for no reason. We urge all the community members who helped bring us to this day to to stay vigilant and participate actively in this process. Reform must start by including the voices of those who have been harmed.

The legal questions have been settled; now we begin the work to bring real, lasting and concrete change to the NYPD and to the City of New York. I can't wait to get started.