NYCLU: Database Had 'Entire Population Marked As Criminal Suspects'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — City officials will no longer store the names and addresses of people whose cases are dismissed after a police stop under an agreement that settles a lawsuit over the stop-and-frisk issue.

The deal signed Tuesday resulted from a May 2010 lawsuit brought in state court in Manhattan by the New York Civil Liberties Union. The civil rights group announced the settlement Wednesday, saying the New York Police Department will no longer store the names of people who are stopped, arrested or issued a summons when those cases are dismissed or resolved with a fine for a noncriminal violation.

“Though much still needs to be done, this settlement is an important step toward curbing the impact of abusive stop-and-frisk practices,” said Christopher Dunn, associate legal director of the NYCLU and lead counsel in the case.

“The problem with the database was that it had hundreds of thousands of people in who had never committed any crime and yet the department was using the database to conduct criminal investigations,” Dunn told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.

Dunn added the majority of people in the database were black and Hispanic males.

An entire population is being marked as criminal suspects merely because they’ve been stopped and frisked,” he told Diamond.

The police department did not immediately comment on the settlement.

Celeste Koeleveld, the lead city lawyer on the case, said the settlement was consistent with a 2010 state law that banned identifying information without a conviction.

She said the city will continue to store data on stops, but will not include any identifying information about those who are stopped.

As for those who are arrested of crimes and convicted, she said their names and other identifying information will continue to be included in various criminal databases.

“Under the circumstances, it seemed like an effective way to end the litigation,” she said.

The deal resulted from a lawsuit brought on behalf of hundreds of thousands of people whose personal information was in a stop-and-frisk database.

“New Yorkers who are the victims of unjustified police stops will no longer suffer the further injustice of having their personal information stored indefinitely in an NYPD database,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said in a news release.

“This settlement finally clears the names of hundreds of thousands of people whose only crime was that they were stopped and frisked by NYPD officers,” she said.

The lawsuit had been brought by two New York City residents – Clive Lino and Daryl Khan – who had been stopped and frisked by police officers but were cleared of any wrongdoing.

Khan, a freelance journalist who covered the NYPD for more than a decade and has no criminal record, was riding his bike on a Brooklyn street on Oct. 7, 2009, when two police officers in an unmarked van pulled him over.

“Essentially, I was in an NYPD database for riding my bike,” Khan said. “New York City prizes itself for its freedom; but a free society can’t call itself free if it allows its local police department to keep a massive secret database of people who have been shown to have done nothing wrong.”

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