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New York, NY, January 31, 2008 – Today, in federal court in Manhattan, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is filing a companion case to its ground breaking racial profiling case, Daniels et al. v. The City of New York, et al., which led to a settlement agreement in 2003 that required the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to provide CCR with data on all of the stop and frisks conducted from the last quarter of 2003 through the first quarter of 2007. An analysis of the data reveals that the NYPD is still engaging in unlawful stops and frisks which are unconstitutional. This is the same data that other organizations have been attempting to obtain through freedom of information requests and that the City continues to resist releasing to the general public. The suit seeks to get injunctive and declaratory relief to stop the City from engaging in racial profiling and violating the rights of thousands of New Yorkers by using unconstitutional stops.
“We are bringing the NYPD back into court because racial profiling is still occurring,” said CCR staff attorney, Andrea Costello. “We believe, the overwhelming number of stops is based, not on the reasonable suspicion of criminal activity required by the Fourth Amendment, but rather on the race of the person being stopped. According to the Department’s own figures nearly 90 percent of those stopped by police are people of color and only 10 percent of those stops are leading to a summons or arrest. The NYPD is engaged in a practice of illegally targeting people of color.”
Although the settlement in Daniels et al. v. The City of New York, et al. expired at the end of December 2007, CCR was permitted to retain the UF-250 data (UF-250 is the form that Police Officers are required to fill out after stopping individuals in street encounters) under an order entered in the case. A request has been filed with the court to retain the data in the new case and to make it publicly available.
CCR staff attorney Kamau Franklin stated, “Pursuing this lawsuit is critical. Today, there is an epidemic of racially-based, unconstitutional stops taking place in our city that must be stopped.”
In the lawsuit the Center cites the following figures, in 2006, alone:
The NYPD stopped, questioned and/or frisked over 506,491 people, an over 500 percent increase from 97,296 in 2002.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.