Thursday, March 29, 2012
The NYPD’s enforcement of Operation Clean Halls, a part of the Department’s stop-and-frisk program that allows police officers to patrol thousands of private apartment buildings across New York City, violates the rights of residents of those buildings and their guests – largely black and Latino New Yorkers – according to a federal class-action lawsuit filed today by the New York Civil Liberties Union, LatinoJustice PRLDEF and The Bronx Defenders.
“Operation Clean Halls has placed hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, mostly black and Latino, under siege in their own homes,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said. “For residents of Clean Halls buildings, taking the garbage out or checking the mail can result in being thrown against the wall and humiliated by police. Untold numbers of people have been wrongly arrested for trespassing because they had the audacity to leave their apartments without IDs or visit friends and family who live in Clean Halls buildings. This aggressive assault on people’s constitutional rights must be stopped.”
All tenants of the thousands of buildings enrolled in the program and their guests are at a heightened risk of unjustified and unlawful NYPD stop-and-frisks or trespassing arrests. Many tenants who live in Clean Halls buildings are restricted in their ability to maintain familial ties and friendships due to the use of aggressive police tactics in their homes. The program is part of a citywide practice of suspicionless police stops and arrests that primarily impact communities of color.
“The NYPD uses Clean Halls as a license to stop anybody, at any time, on suspicion of trespassing,” said NYCLU Senior Staff Attorney Alexis Karteron, lead attorney on the case. “As a result, people who live in Clean Halls buildings are under constant threat of being stopped, frisked, harassed and even arrested by police officers. This type of activity has no place in a free society, and we’re confident the courts will put a stop to it.”
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