The New York City Police Department has agreed to purge its stop-and-frisk database of the names and addresses of people stopped and later cleared of any wrongdoing, the New York Civil Liberties Union announced Wednesday.
The NYCLU filed a lawsuit in state court in 2010 on behalf of hundreds of thousands of people stopped by the NYPD whose information was stored in the database. The suit alleged that the storing of information for those whose cases were either dismissed or resolved with a fine for a noncriminal violation was unconstitutional. Furthermore, they believed it could be a method used by the NYPD for years in order to target New Yorkers just because they had been stopped before.
Within 90 days, the NYPD will erase the names and addresses. Non-identifying data, like race, will be maintained in order to monitor the stop-and-frisk program.
"Though much still needs to be done, this settlement is an important step towards curbing the impact of abusive stop and frisk practices," said Christopher Dunn, lead counsel in the case and associate legal director of the NYCLU. "It was wrong and illegal for the police department to be keeping these names and addresses in the stop-and-frisk database, and this settlement puts an end to that practice."
The stop-and-frisk procedure has been a concern for civil liberties groups for years. It allows officers to stop individuals and frisk them simply because they appear suspicious. According to the NYCLU, a disproportionate number of minorities are stopped by police.
As part of the settlement, NYC will pay the NYCLU $10,000. The city didn’t admit to violating plaintiff’s rights.
Democratic candidate for NYC mayor Bill de Blasio has been an outspoken critic of Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk procedure.
The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), which also sued the city, reported that of 4.3 million stop-and-frisk searches in the last nine years more than 80 percent were of blacks and Latinos. According to the CCR, less than 1 percent of the stop-and-frisk searches led to the recovery of a firearm.