March 21, 2017
NEW YORK––Mayor de Blasio today announced the selection of former federal Judge Stephen Robinson as the Independent Civilian Representative to the NYPD Handschu Committee. Judge Robinson served as a U.S. District Judge in the Southern District of New York as well as the U.S. Attorney in Connecticut. His appointment as the Civilian Representative follows a federal court's approval of proposed modifications to the Handschu Guidelines which will resolve two lawsuits alleging the improper investigations of Muslims. As part of the settlements, the City agreed to add an independent civilian representative to the internal NYPD committee to foster public confidence that the department maintains best practices in intelligence investigations and decisions.
Currently a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom's New York office, Judge Robinson is a nationally-respected lawyer and former Deputy General Counsel of the FBI where he participated in the investigation into the Oklahoma City bombing. With decades of experience in state and federal court, Judge Robinson will work with the NYPD's internal team of advisors to ensure continued compliance with the Handschu guidelines when the NYPD opens or extends investigations into political activity including terrorism. He was selected by the Mayor in consultation with Commissioner Bratton. The position requires at least a five year term of service.
"Every New Yorker should feel safe and protected, no matter their background or faith. And in times like these, our resolve to build trust and respect across all religions only grows stronger. Our city's Muslim communities are valued partners in our ongoing efforts to keep New York City the safest big city in America, and Judge Stephen Robinson's selection will help ensure we continue to work closely and respectfully with those of every origin and background. Judge Robinson has spent his career working to ensure Americans are treated equally and justly under the law, and I know he shares this administration's commitment to transparency and fairness," said Mayor de Blasio.
"Judge Stephen Robinson has served as a jurist, a prosecutor, a national security counsel for the government and a guardian of civil liberties. There is no one more uniquely qualified to help guide and advise the team that conducts investigations under the rules of the Handschu Agreement," said Commissioner James O'Neill.
"Judge Robinson's decades-long experience in both law enforcement and as a protector of civil rights makes him the perfect choice as civilian representative," said Corporation Counsel Zachary W. Carter. "He is uniquely qualified to ensure that there is independent oversight that will help all communities to have confidence in the NYPD's intelligence gathering processes under the Handschu rules to both strengthen police community relations and to keep our City safe. We are pleased with this appointment and with the formal resolution of these cases by the Court."
"I am honored that Mayor de Blasio has chosen to select me as the Independent Civilian Representative to the NYPD Handschu Committee. The Police Department and the Handschu Committee serve vitally important roles in keeping New Yorkers safe from terrorist activity. In the course of that effort, all New Yorkers deserve to know that the Police Department is working just as diligently to uphold the rule of law and protect the rights of all our citizens. I look forward to adding my efforts to those of the Handschu Committee," said Judge Stephen Robinson.