NYPD settles stop-and-frisk lawsuit targeting minorities

A federal lawsuit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) against the Bloomberg administration regarding illegal stop and frisk programs in NYC has reached a settlement. The NYPD officers will now receive special training in order to prevent the unlawful practice of detaining, questioning and searching innocent New Yorkers, particularly people of color, who are passengers in livery cabs. The lawsuit was filed in May 2011, and claimed the NYPD was using its Taxi/Livery Inspection Program (TRIP) to expand the reach of its unconstitutional stop-and-frisk practices. The plaintiffs in this case, Terrence Battle and Munir Pujara, were targeted by NYPD riding in livery cabs. They were detained, questioned and searched even though the livery drivers told officers there was no problem or suspicious activities. “Being pulled out of a livery car late at night when I had done nothing wrong was outrageous and frightening,” Battle said. “I can only hope this settlement saves others from a similar experience.” Advertisement As part of the settlement, the NYPD must educate police officers regarding the lawful treatment of livery cab passengers, direct officers to end their question, frisk, search or demand identification program from cab passengers. Under the new settlement, police can no longer stop-and-frisk passengers unless the officers have reason to believe that the passenger(s) have committed a crime. “Under this settlement, the NYPD will undertake sweeping training of officers and commanders to halt the unlawful treatment of law-abiding passengers in livery cabs,” said NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn. “This should put an end to the unjustified stopping and frisking of people whose only crime was to be riding in a livery car.” In addition, the NYPD commanding officers must assure that livery cab passengers are not mistreated under the TRIP program. Finally, the NYPD will also include a training memorandum regarding TRIP in their NYPD Police Student’s Guide, which is used to train new cadets at the NYPD Police Academy. “This is a victory for the right of all New Yorkers to go about their business without being unlawfully detained, questioned and searched by police,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said. “While the NYPD has agreed to take steps to end this discriminatory practice, its officers continue to subject record numbers of black and Latino New Yorkers to unlawful and suspicionless street stops. It’s time for the Bloomberg administration and the NYPD to put a stop to all discriminatory policing.” The livery cab TRIP program is voluntary and authorizes police officers to stop participating cabs, identifiable by a special decal, to perform driver safety checks. Under the settlement, the city will pay both plaintiffs $10,000 in damages, as well as attorneys’ fees. To read the full settlement, visit http://www.nyclu.org/files/releases/TRIP_Final_Stip-Order_5.14.12.pdf. For more stories;http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak © Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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