Judge Finds NYPD Makes Unconstitutional Stops in the Bronx
The NYPD has a pattern and practice of illegally stopping innocent people in public areas outside thousands of private apartment buildings in the Bronx and must immediately end this unconstitutional practice, a U.S. District Court judge ruled this morning.
The victory comes as part of a federal class-action lawsuit filed in March by LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the New York Civil Liberties Union, The Bronx Defenders, and the law firm of Shearman & Sterling LLP challenging the NYPD's enforcement of Operation Clean Halls - a citywide program within the Police Department's stop-and-frisk regime that allows police officers to patrol in and around certain private apartment buildings.
Judge Shira A. Scheindlin also found that for years the NYPD has known or should have known that its officers routinely violate constitutional rights through the Clean Halls program. Nonetheless the Department fails to adequately train officers about when they may legally make trespass stops, and that this practice "has risen to the level of deliberate indifference."
"The Latino and African-American communities have something to cheer about today as Judge Shira Scheindlin recognized what our communities have long known: The NYPD routinely stops people of color without any reasonable basis, as we have demonstrated they do in front of Clean Halls buildings," said Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF. "We now begin the process of ending these unlawful practices so that all New Yorkers, regardless of their color, may feel free to walk the streets of their city without the constant fear of being stopped without cause."
Read the release here.