Police Accountability Board Retains Shearman & Sterling LLP

Police Accountability Board Retains Shearman & Sterling LLP As Pro Bono Legal Counsel To Ensure Full Cooperation With Its Investigations Into RPD


Rochester’s City Charter requires the PAB to make all of RPD’s work transparent through regular oversight investigations into police policies, practices, and procedures. To ensure the PAB can conduct these investigations properly, the Charter requires the City to provide any source of information requested by the PAB. The Charter also gives the PAB the powers to retain outside legal counsel for any reason and to obtain information through subpoenas. Over the last two months, the Rochester Police Department has made national headlines for its role in a series of disturbing encounters with children and people in crisis. The Police Accountability Board is investigating the policies, practices, and procedures that may have caused these incidents. The Board has yet to receive a host of documents it has requested. To ensure the City complies with its pressing investigations, the PAB is announcing that it has retained the law firm of Shearman & Sterling LLP as its pro bono legal counsel. “This month, an independent investigation revealed that City officials spent much of last year suppressing crucial information about our police department,” said PAB Chair Shani Wilson. “We cannot allow history to repeat itself. The law is clear: the City must fully cooperate with our investigations. Refusing to do so is unacceptable. When Rochesterians are crying out for accountability and transparency in this moment of crisis, the PAB must do the job our community has tasked us with. With the help of lawyers as committed and experienced as those at Shearman & Sterling, the PAB will make sure our community’s calls are answered.” Shearman & Sterling is an international law firm headquartered in New York City. In providing pro bono assistance to the PAB, the firm is furthering a longstanding commitment to police accountability and transparency. For example, the firm recently partnered with public interest groups to settle a class action lawsuit over the New York Police Department’s “stop and frisk” practices. Most notably, the firm sued the Rochester Police Department last year over its refusal to cooperate with the New York Civil Liberties Union’s requests for police disciplinary records. “Shearman & Sterling is proud to be partnering with the Police Accountability Board in this important matter,” said Shearman & Sterling partner Philip Urofsky. “The fate of police reform hinges on the success of organizations like the PAB. We look forward to ensuring that City officials understand the law and fully cooperate with the PAB’s efforts to make Rochester’s public safety system equitable, fair, and transparent.” Conor Dwyer Reynolds Executive Director | Police Accountability Board 80 Commercial Street, Rochester, NY 14614 conor.reynolds@cityofrochester.gov Office Phone: 585-428-7512




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