MANHATTAN (CN) – A class action demands the New York Police Department stop keeping innocent people’s names in an electronic database the NYPD “use(s) to conduct criminal investigations” after police officers stop and frisk them and find nothing, or file charges that are dismissed. State law requires such information to be sealed, but the NYPD refuses to do that, so that “a huge number of law-abiding people – most of whom are black or Latino – are being treated as criminal suspects,” according to the complaint in New York County Court.
The class claims the NYPD has “stopped and interrogated people nearly 3 million times” since 2003 – and that more than 80 percent of them were blacks and Latinos. “Even though nearly 90 percent of people stopped have done absolutely nothing unlawful – as evidence by the fact that they are neither arrested nor given a summons – the NYPD is entering the personal information of every person stopped into a department database.” And police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says the cops will keep this information “indefinitely,” according to the complaint.
The class seeks declaratory judgment that the NYPD is violating state law. It wants the records of innocent people sealed. It is represented by Christopher Dunn with the New York Civil Liberties Union.