Peter Zimroth, who was appointed by a federal judge to oversee the reformation of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactics, died Monday after a long illness, officials said. He was 78.
Zimroth was appointed to monitor the NYPD by then-Southern District of New York Judge Shira Scheindlin after her landmark 2013 ruling that found the department’s use of stop-and-frisk was unconstitutional because it targeted minorities.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague and friend Peter Zimroth. Peter was an exemplary and thoughtful leader who made enormous contributions to people of this City,” New York City Corporation Counsel Georgia M. Pestana said in a statement.
“He was a dedicated and excellent Corporation Counsel who always demonstrated a strong moral compass and commitment to furthering the interests of the City. He will be sorely missed.”
A Yale Law School graduate and lifelong New York City resident, Zimroth also worked as a prosecutor in both the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
Earlier in his career, Zimroth was a professor at the New York University School of Law, where he also worked as an adjunct professor and director of its Center on Civil Justice. He eventually served as the city’s corporation council.
Zimroth also helped reform campaign finance, which he said opened the electoral process to a “broader spectrum of people—and I’m extremely proud of that,” he told the Law Journal in 2014.
Zimroth also represented Detective David Durk, who with whistleblower Frank Serpico, testified about NYPD corruption to the 1970’s Knapp Commission.
After being charged with overseeing stop-and-frisk reforms, Zimroth instituted changes in 2015 that required commanding officers in precincts citywide to read new stop and frisk policies at roll calls so officers couldn’t claim ignorance.
The reforms also required cops to fill out forms laying out the reasons for their stop and frisks and kicked off an early pilot program requiring cops to wear body-worn cameras.
Zimroth wrote in a report in 2016 that police were still struggling with the reforms and required better training.
“It is apparent from focus group sessions and discussions with individual officers throughout the ranks that many police officers, including supervisors, are not well informed as yet about the changes underway or the reasons for them and, therefore, have yet to internalize them,” Zimroth wrote in a letter to Judge Analisa Torres.
“Many appear not to understand what is expected of them.”
Zimroth’s funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Tuesday at the Plaza Jewish Community Chapel, 630 Amsterdam Ave. His burial will take place in Monroe, Connecticut.
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