For weeks and months, Judge Shira A. Scheindlin had been excoriated by New York City’s highest public officials for her ruling in 2013 that the Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy had violated the rights of minorities. At the time, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, in essence, that he hoped the ruling would not take effect while he was still in office, because he did not want to be “responsible for a lot of people dying.”
The attacks on Judge Scheindlin only intensified after a federal appeals panel stayed her ruling, criticized her actions in the case and removed her from continuing to oversee it.
But last week, as Judge Scheindlin prepared to step down after nearly 22 years as a federal district judge in Manhattan, she offered her first extensive interviews about the case and her tenure, with a particularly blunt response to the criticism.
She would never forget, she said, seeing a front-page photograph in a newspaper the day after she released her ruling, showing Mr. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, as she put it, “looking like two angry white men.”
“They seemed out of touch with the issues that the communities cared about,” Judge Scheindlin said. “They didn’t seem to understand the impact of these policies on real people and real neighborhoods and real communities and the detrimental impact it was having, even on policing. And that’s the point. They didn’t seem to get it. It was all about fear —