The Lawsuit (PDF)
State Supreme Court, New York County, Index No. 07-115154 (direct)
At issue in this case is whether the NYCLU is entitled, under the New York Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), to obtain from the New York City Police Department an electronic copy of an NYPD computer database containing information about hundreds of thousands of stops and frisk encounters between NYPD officers and members of the public.
In July 2007, the NYCLU served the NYPD with a formal legal request to produce the database under FOIL. The department rejected the request at the end of August and denied the NYCLU’s administrative appeal in October. The lawsuit was filed on Nov. 13, 2007.
The NYCLU requested the information to allow for an independent analysis of the department’s stop-and-frisk practices, which have been the subject of enormous controversy since the 1999 shooting death of Amadou Diallo. The controversy was rekindled in February 2007 when the department, under pressure from the NYCLU, released printed reports revealing that more than half a million New Yorkers were stopped in 2006 alone.
The NYPD then hired the RAND Corporation to study its stop-and-frisk activity and gave it the database. When the department in turn refused to give the database to the City Council, the NYCLU filed its FOIL request.
On May 29, 2008, Judge Marilyn G. Diamond ordered the NYPD to turn over the electronic database with the exception of names and addresses of the individuals stopped and the addresses and tax ID numbers of the officers who made the stops or completed the reports. The City appealed. On Oct. 15, 2008, the city withdrew its appeal.
Attorneys on the case include Christopher Dunn, who is being assisted by New York University Civil Rights Clinic students Rebecca Bers, Samantha Marks, and Meredith Laitner.