NYPD commits to education, training on transgender rights
NEW YORK CITY – Today the New York Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project announced a settlement with the NYPD on behalf of Linda Dominguez, a transgender advocate who the NYPD harassed and charged with “false personation.” The settlement mandates officer training on the rights of transgender people.
Under the settlement, the NYPD committed to redistribute its guidance on interactions with transgender and gender nonconforming people to the entire department and to re-train officers in the 44th Precinct—where Ms. Dominguez was arrested—on the rights of transgender and gender nonconforming people. The NYPD will also pay Ms. Dominguez $30,000.
“I never want anyone to go through the abuse I experienced from people sworn to protect me,” said Linda Dominguez. “This settlement is an important step toward ending a culture of impunity and discrimination against trans people in the NYPD. As an advocate for my community, I couldn’t let this go.” Beyond her lawsuit, Ms. Dominguez is active in campaigns for the rights of transgender and gender nonconforming immigrants of color through Make the Road New York and other groups.
The agreement comes as the result of a 2019 lawsuit. Ms. Dominguez was arrested for walking in a park in the Bronx in April 2018 and charged with “false personation” for providing both her previous and current legal names to the officers. During the arrest, officers repeatedly mocked her gender, violating changes to the NYPD’s patrol guide dating back to 2012 that prohibit such behavior.
A 2017 report by the city’s inspector general found that many police officers have not been trained on the revised patrol guide and the department’s system for tracking complaints against officers is inadequate.
“Harassment of transgender women of color is far too frequent in the NYPD,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “As the national reckoning with police abuse and violence continues, this settlement makes clear that the NYPD has an obligation to treat transgender women with dignity. We will continue to hold the NYPD accountable.”
“Anti-transgender bias, racism, and sexism shapes policing not just in New York City but around the country,” said Gabriel Arkles, ACLU senior staff attorney. “It was an honor to represent Ms. Dominguez. We will keep holding the government accountable and fighting for the safety and dignity of trans women of color everywhere.”
“The NYPD has a long history of criminalizing transgender people for existing,” said Bobby Hodgson, NYCLU senior staff attorney. “As a result of Ms. Dominguez’s courage and tenacity, this settlement holds the NYPD accountable, recommits the department to addressing transphobia, and allows Ms. Dominguez some measure of closure for the unlawful mistreatment she experienced.”