Back to All Court Cases

Blair v. City of New York, et al. (Challenging NYPD’s racially biased stop-and-frisk practices)


This case challenges the NYPD’s unlawful and unconstitutional stop-and-frisk policies and practices. The plaintiff, Leonardo Blair – a Jamaican-born black man – was stopped, arrested and jailed without justification in November 2007 while walking from his car to his home in the Bronx. The lawsuit maintains that the arresting officers violated Blair’s constitutional rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. The suit also challenges the legality of a database the NYPD maintains with the names and addresses of every person stopped and frisked by the police, even though more than 90 percent of those people have done nothing wrong.

Mr. Blair, 28, immigrated to the United States in 2006 and resides here on an optional practical training visa. He graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in May 2007 and landed a job writing for the New York Post. On Nov. 28, 2007 Mr. Blair parked his car on Arnow Avenue, and began walking to his family’s house. He returned to the car to make sure he’d locked the door. Upon resuming his walk, he noticed a patrol car following him. An NYPD office threateningly asked Mr. Blair what he was doing. An officer jumped from the patrol car and confronted Mr. Blair on the sidewalk, ordering him to raise his hands in the air. Officer Reynolds exited the patrol car and joined the confrontation. Mr. Blair cooperated with the officers as they questioned him and searched his bag without reasonable grounds to believe he had committed a crime. He dropped his hands after the officers had completed their search, which upset one of the officers. Mr. Blair was handcuffed and pushed into the backseat of the patrol car. At the 49th precinct, Mr. Blair endured hostile and demeaning remarks from police officers while standing in a jail cell. He was released only after he informed the officers that he was a reporter for the Post. Mr. Blair, who had no criminal record, was issued two summonses, one alleging he disobeyed a lawful order and the other alleging he made “unreasonable noise.”

A judge dismissed both summonses on Feb. 8, 2008. Plaintiff is asking the court to issue a declaratory judgment that the defendants violated his constitutional rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. He also is asking that all records of his arrest, including those entered in the NYPD’s massive stop-and-frisk database, be sealed or expunged. The case was settled on Sept. 28, 2008. 

S.D.N.Y., Index No. 08 CIV 4303 (direct).

Court Filings


As bold as the spirit of New York, we are the NYCLU.
© 2024 New York
Civil Liberties Union