Officials signed an agreement that the NYPD will no longer store names in certain arrest cases.
The New York Civil Liberties Union announced Wednesday that New York City officials signed an agreement Tuesday that the New York Police Department will no longer store the names of people who are stopped, arrested or issued a summons when those cases are dismissed or resolved with a fine for a noncriminal violation.
The settlement was part of a 2010 lawsuit brought on behalf of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who were targeted by the NYPD for criminal investigations, reportedly because they had been previously stopped and frisked by the police.
Christopher Dunn is the associate legal director of the NYCLU and was lead counsel in the case. He said that “Though much still needs to be done, this settlement is an important step toward curbing the impact of abusive stop-and-frisk practices.”
Dunn explained that “The problem with the database was that it had hundreds of thousands of people in it who had never committed any crime, and yet the department was using the database to conduct criminal investigations.
“An entire population is being marked as criminal suspects merely because they’ve been stopped and frisked,” he said, explaining that a majority of the people in the database were Black and Hispanic males.
As Mint Press News previously reported, of the some 5 million people that have been subjected to this controversial program, 84 percent were Black or Latino, and reports from the NYPD itself indicate that 9 out of 10 New Yorkers who were stopped as part of the stop-and-frisk program were innocent.
While the NYPD has continued to target Blacks at a disproportionate rate, Russia Today reported that White people stopped and frisked by the NYPD were more often to be found in possession of weapons and drugs than any other race. According to the NYPD, weapons were found in one out of every 49 stops of white New Yorkers, while weapons were found in every 71 stops of Latinos, and 93 stops for Blacks.
When it comes to drugs, the NYPD found contraband in one out every 43 stops of white New Yorkers, but it took the Department 57 stops of Latinos and 61 stops of African Americans to uncover contraband.
“New Yorkers who are the victims of unjustified police stops will no longer suffer the further injustice of having their personal information stored indefinitely in an NYPD database,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said in a news release.
“This settlement finally clears the names of hundreds of thousands of people whose only crime was that they were stopped and frisked by NYPD officers,” she said.
Celeste Koeleveld is the lead city lawyer on the case. She said the settlement was consistent with a 2010 state law that banned identifying information without a conviction and that the city would continue to store data on each stop-and-frisk incident, but would not include identifying information about the persons stopped unless arrested and convicted of a crime.
“Under the circumstances, it seemed like an effective way to end the litigation,” she said.
The lawsuit was brought by two New York City residents, Clive Lino and Daryl Khan, who were stopped and frisked by NYPD officers and cleared of wrongdoing, but had their names and addresses stored in a database.
“It is a relief to know that my personal information will be cleared from the stop-and-frisk database,” said Lino, a Black man who has been stopped at least 13 times by NYPD officers. “It is humiliating enough to be stopped and frisked for no reason, having your name and address kept in a police database only prolongs the indignity of it.”
Khan is a freelance journalist who had no criminal record and covered the NYPD for more than a decade. He said he was riding a bike on a Brooklyn street in 2009 when two officers in an unmarked van pulled him over.
“Essentially, I was in an NYPD database for riding my bike,” Khan said. “New York City prizes itself for its freedom; but a free society can’t call itself free if it allows its local police department to keep a massive secret database of people who have been shown to have done nothing wrong.
“As someone who has covered the NYPD as a journalist, I know that good police work is done in this city without a sprawling database of innocent people’s information.”