The NYCLU filed a lawsuit yesterday on behalf of a Brooklyn man who says the NYPD has stopped him in the subway and searched his bag an excessive number of times because he looks Middle Eastern. 32-year-old Jangir Sultan was born in Brooklyn, where he currently resides, but he accuses NYPD officers of racial profiling, stopping him 21 times over three years. Police began searching subway riders' bags at checkpoints in 2005 in the wake of the London subway bombings, but the department insists the checks are race-neutral and conducted randomly.

Sultan, whose parents are from Kashmir, claims he didn't object to being searched at first, but when he learned that his friends and colleagues were seldom stopped, he began to take offense. After the 13th stop, he started reporting the searches to the Civilian Complaint Review Board. "It was embarrassing," he tells the Daily News. "Did I look like someone who would blow something up? Getting all this attention from the NYPD was a little intimidating." He says he hasn't been stopped and searched since June 2008, around the time he began writing down officers' names and badge numbers.

The NYCLU argues that because cops are supposed to stop, say, every 25th person, the likelihood that Sultan would be stopped 21 times in three years is about 1 in 165 million. The suit also contends that because officers are prohibited from recording any demographic information about people they stop, they're "left free to engage in racial profiling, and the department ensures that it will not know about such unconstitutional behavior." Sultan tells Newsday the searches have caused lingering anxiety: "Even now when I'm entering a subway station, my heart tightens. Any time I see an officer, I feel very uncomfortable."