More than 85% of people stopped and frisked by the NYPD are released without an arrest or summons. But regardless of innocence, the NYPD has been keeping a database of personal information on more than 100,000 people who are stopped, questioned, frisked, and released each year. Today the NYCLU has filed a class action lawsuit [pdf] to get the NYPD to seal all personal records of people who were stopped and frisked, were arrested or issued a summons, and whose cases "ended either in dismissal or only the payment of a fine for a noncriminal violation." The lead plaintiffs are two NYC residents who were stopped and frisked by police officers but subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing. In this video, they explain what happened:
Plaintiff Clive Lino, a 29-year-old graduate student studying English and special education at Mercy College, was stopped at least 13 times by NYPD officers between February 2008 and August 2009. On April 18, 2009, Lino and his cousin were getting into his brother’s car on Morris Avenue in the Bronx when five police officers stopped them. According to Lino, the officers threw him against a wall, frisked him, handcuffed him and searched his pockets. After detaining him for about a half hour, the police officers issued Lino summonses for spitting in public and possessing an open container. Both were dismissed.
The other lead plaintiff, Daryl Khan, is a freelance journalist who covered the NYPD for more than a decade. He was riding his bike at the corner of Tompkins Avenue and Park Avenue in Brooklyn on Oct. 7, 2009 when two cops in an unmarked van pulled him over. He says they accused him of riding on the sidewalk, demanded to see his ID, and repeatedly asked him to tell them where he lived. When Khan told them he was "uncomfortable" with all the personal questions, he says they pulled him off the bike, threw him against a van, cuffed him, and spent 45 minutes searching him before ultimately letting him go with a summons for disorderly conduct and riding on the sidewalk.
"It shouldn’t take a lawsuit to keep innocent people out of a police database,” said the NYCLU's Christopher Dunn in a statement. "We believe that more than 100,000 people are in this criminal suspect database even though they have been cleared of all wrongdoing and even though the law requires the NYPD to seal their records. What’s more, our state’s laws must be changed so that the millions of people who are stopped by police but aren’t even issued a summons or arrested also are removed from the suspect database. "