Center for Constitutional Rights
May 7, 2008
NEW YORK – May 7 – The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) supports the New York Civil Liberties Union’s decision to join in the fight to end racial profiling and illegal stop-and-frisk practices by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) with the filing of their new federal stop and frisk lawsuit, Blair v. City of New York, et al.
CCR filed a class action stop-and-frisk lawsuit on April 16, 2008 that charges the NYPD with engaging in racial profiling and suspicion less stops and frisks of law abiding New York City residents. According to CCR attorneys, the named plaintiffs in CCR’s case, Floyd, et al. v. City of New York, et al. – David Floyd, Lalit Clarkson, and Deion Dennis – represent the thousands of New Yorkers who have been stopped without any cause on their way to work, in front of their home, or just walking down the street, primarily because they were men of color. CCR’s plaintiffs filed their case because they are tired of having their rights violated; it is likely the same for the plaintiff in NYCLU’s case.
This new individual action by NYCLU is a companion case to the Center’s class action lawsuit, which focuses not only on the lack of any reasonable suspicion to make these stops (90 percent of the stops result in no issuance of summons or arrest, in violation of the Fourth Amendment), but also on the obvious racial disparities in who gets stopped and searched by the NYPD—90 percent are Black and Latino, even though these two groups make up only 52 percent of the city’s population.
CCR Attorney Kamau Franklin said, “It is especially important, in the aftermath of the Sean Bell acquittal, that CCR and NYCLU join forces to hold the NYPD accountable for its illegal policing practices. We are encouraged that NYCLU has filed a companion case to our class action.”
In the near future, CCR will be seeking an order from the court in Floyd to immediately make the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk records available to the public. The Center is prepared to release a detailed report on the numbers of stop-and-frisks that is critical of the City’s continued racial profiling policy.
CCR Attorney Darius Charney said, “Last year, the City released a report based on its data from the Rand Corporation that attempted to explain away the obvious racial disparities in who gets stopped and searched by the police. The City has been trying to keep that data from the public to prevent any competing analysis.”
In the aftermath of the Amadou Diallo shooting, CCR filed the landmark stop-and-frisk class action lawsuit, Daniels v. City of New York, that led to the disbanding of the infamous Street Crime Unit.
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