The New York Civil Liberties Union announced Wednesday a settlement with the city in their lawsuit against the New York City Police Department's stop-and-frisk database policy, meaning officers will no longer be allowed to store the names and addresses of those who are stopped but later cleared of all criminal wrongdoings. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
For years, there have been complaints about the police department keeping people's names and addresses after a stop, question and frisk, even if they they were later cleared of any wrongdoing.
"We don't like the police to have a database of innocent people regardless," said Donna Lieberman of the New York Civil Liberties Union. "But when they have a database that's all people of color, that's particularly problematic."
Three years ago, the civil liberties union sued the city over keeping people's personal information in a New York City Police Department stop-and-frisk electronic database. Now, the two sides have settled that federal case. The city has agreed not to keep personal info of people who have been cleared of criminal activity in a computer database.
"It's possible that it could have been used to just sort of go back to the same people again and again and again," Lieberman said. "We know that nearly 90 percent of the people who were stopped and frisked by police in any year in the past 10 years are people of color."
In 2010 a state law was passed, making it illegal for police to keep the names of people who were never arrested or given a summons after a stop, question and frisk. The city says it actually stopped putting names and other information in an electronic database after that ruling because it was too difficult to keep up with having to delete the info. They also say it was no longer a good crime prevention technique.
"Today's settlement is consistent with the 2010 law that the NYPD has been fully compliant with. The law made the need for the database moot," Janice Casey Silverberg of the New York City Law Department said in a statement.
City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., who is often a staunch defender of the NYPD, said that keeping names and addresses wasn't right.
"After a certain period of time, if you're cleared, there's no reason for you to be in a database five, 10, 100 years later," Vallone said.
During a stop-and-frisk, officers are suppose to fill out a UF 250 form, which has a person's name and address. The civil liberties union said that police will be able to archive those, but it won't be as easy as hitting a button to pull up person's name.