Following the NYPD shooting of Sean Bell in November 2006, the NYCLU filed a Freedom of Information request with the NYPD, asking for the NYPD’s annual statistical reports on police shootings from 1996 through 2006, as well as data about the race of civilians shot at by police. In response, the NYPD released some annual statistical reports, but it denied the NYCLU’s request for full racial data. A lawsuit ensued, and now a judge has ruled that the NYPD can't withhold the data, which will show the racial breakdown of people shot at but not struck by cops.
In the ruling, Supreme Court Judge Joan A. Madden wrote that the NYPD "failed to provide adequate justification'' for withholding the information. "The court’s decision makes clear that the NYPD had no basis for withholding this data, which is necessary to conduct a complete study of the role race plays in police shootings," said NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn in a statement. The NYPD has not commented yet, but NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said, "The records we’ve obtained thus far paints a troubling, but incomplete, picture of the NYPD’s shooting practices. This new data will help us give New Yorkers the full story on police shootings, not the NYPD’s spin."