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Letter: NYPD’s Stop and Frisk (New York Times)

To the Editor:

Bob Herbert rightly calls the New York Police Department’s policy of stopping and frisking hundreds of thousands of innocent black and Latino New Yorkers every year “Jim Crow policing” (column, Feb. 2). And to make matters worse, these innocent people are subjected to the added injustice of having their personal information stored indefinitely in a sprawling NYPD database.

This vast database contains personal details of more than 2.2 million completely innocent people stopped by the police since 2004. Nine out of 10 are never arrested, charged or even issued a summons.

What is the NYPD doing with this huge database? Growing its list of the “usual suspects” and turning hundreds of thousands of innocent black and brown New Yorkers into investigation targets.

The police can and should stop people engaged in suspicious activity, but they must not stop innocent people simply to collect their information. The NYPD should scale back its stop-and-frisk activity, and wipe the information on millions of innocent people from its database. Failure to do so will undermine trust and raise the prospect of court orders and Justice Department intervention.

Donna Lieberman
Christopher Dunn

The writers are, respectively, the executive director and the associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

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