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NYCLU Calls Decision To Conduct Random Searches Of Individuals On New York’s Subways Unconstitutional

The New York Civil Liberties Union announced today that it is troubled by the NYPD announcement that it will begin random searches of bags and packages carried by people entering the city’s subways. The NYCLU believes such searches are unconstitutional and will do little to provide safety for the millions of people who ride public transportation every day.

NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman issued this statement:
“All New Yorkers rely upon public transportation and we all want them to be safe and secure as we go about our daily activities. We are entitled to move freely around the city without being worried about being searched by police.

The NYPD can and should investigate any suspicious activity, but the Fourth Amendment prohibits police from conducting searches where there is no suspicion of criminal activity. One of the dangers of random searches is that they can invite the possibility of racial, ethnic or religious profiling. The plan is not workable and will not make New Yorkers more secure but will inconvenience them as police go about finding a needle in a haystack.”

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