In light of rekindled debates about race and policing after the Sean Bell shooting, the New York Civil Liberties Union today protested the NYPD's failure to comply with a city law enacted in the aftermath of the 1999 Amadou Diallo shooting to address concerns about racial profiling.
The New York City Council passed the Police Reporting Law in November 2001 in response to widespread concern about the role of race in the Diallo shooting. The law requires the Department to produce to the City Council each quarter a report detailing the racial breakdown of the individuals that police officers have stopped, questioned, and frisked during that period of time.
The NYCLU learned this week, however, that the NYPD has not produced any of the required reports since 2003.
In a letter sent today to Commissioner Raymond Kelly, the NYCLU called on the NYPD to comply immediately with the law.
"The Department's failure to comply with this basic rule for over three years raises serious questions about its commitment to eliminate racial profiling and other forms of race-based policing," said Donna Lieberman, NYCLU Executive Director. "If the Department is unwilling or unable to comply with simple reporting requirements written into law, we have every reason to question whether it can be trusted to implement less formal internal reforms."
The NYCLU's letter also called on the Department to produce to the NYCLU and the public all information about the racial backgrounds of individuals shot by police officers over the past ten years.
"While it differs from the Diallo shooting, the Bell shooting again raises questions about the extent to which police shooting victims disproportionately are people of color, particularly African-American men," said NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn. "It is essential that the Department provide the public with as much accurate information as possible so there can be a full and fair discussion of the role of race in police shootings."
Click here to read the NYCLU's letter.