December 20, 2012 — A state appellate court today unanimously ruled that the NYPD cannot keep a database of the personal information of more than 360,000 people who were subjected to stop-and-frisk encounters, arrested or issued a summons, and subsequently cleared of criminal wrongdoing.
Ruling in a lawsuit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union, the State Appellate Division, First Department found that the Police Department’s practice of storing these individuals’ personal information in an electronic database violated state laws requiring the NYPD to seal their records.
“With this victory, innocent New Yorkers who are the victims of unjustified police stops will no longer suffer the further injustice of having their personal information stored indefinitely in an NYPD database,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said. “The court’s ruling finally clears the names of more than 360,000 innocent people whose only crime was that they were stopped and frisked by NYPD officers.”
The NYCLU filed the lawsuit, Lino v. City of New York, in May 2010. The two lead plaintiffs, Clive Lino and Daryl Khan are New York City residents who have been stopped and frisked by police officers, issued summonses, and subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing.
“This is a victory for privacy and the rule of law,” said NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn, lead counsel in the case. “It pulls the plug on the NYPD sprawling electronic database of innocent black and Latino New Yorkers.”
The court ruled that the plaintiffs: “correctly assert that they have suffered an injury in fact for two reasons: (1) their records remain unsealed, which puts them at imminent risk that their records will be disclosed, and (2) the NYPD is improperly disclosing plaintiffs’ records in the “stop and frisk” database, which may lead to plaintiffs being targeted in future investigations.”
In July 2010, then-Gov. David Paterson signed a state law prohibiting the NYPD from storing in a computer database the names, addresses, Social Security numbers and other personal information of individuals who are stopped and/or frisked by police and released without being arrested or issued a summons.