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Civil Rights Groups File Information Request with NYPD for Materials Related to Gang Policing Policies

2/23/18

UPDATE: On May 31, 2018, LDF and CCR appealed the NYPD's inadequate response to the FOIL requests discussed below. Read the appeals here and here.

Read a PDF of our statement here.

Civil Rights Groups File Information Request with NYPD for Materials Related to Gang Policing Policies

Late yesterday, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to gather information on the due process implications for those included in the department’s gang policing database. This FOIL request follows LDF and CCR’s recent letter to the New York City Council requesting an oversight hearing about the NYPD’s gang policing practices, as well as a prior FOIL request that broadly sought information about the NYPD’s gang database.

“Inclusion in the NYPD’s ‘gang’ database potentially subjects individuals to increased police surveillance, a greater chance of police encounters, and for some, the threat of deportation,” said Marne Lenox, Assistant Counsel at LDF. “For far too long, this database has operated in secret with no discernible due process protections for individuals included in the database. We’re filing this request to determine what the NYPD is or is not doing to safeguard the constitutional rights of those included in its clandestine database.”

“In any other situation where legal or criminal action might be taken against someone, that person would have a right to know the charges they are facing and be offered the opportunity to challenge or defend themself,” said Britney Wilson, an attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights. “Our FOIL asks if the NYPD offers those same procedural protections to the individuals included in its gang database.”

Specifically, the FOIL request asks for any NYPD materials that:

  • Define the terms: crew and gang;
  • Delineate the process, if any, for an individual included in the gang database to be notified of their inclusion in the system;
  • Outline the process, if any, for an individual included in the gang database to challenge their inclusion in the system;
  • Lay out the internal review process, if any, to ensure the accuracy of the gang database; and
  • List the public and private entities, if any, that have access to the gang database.

Read LDF and CCR’s FOIL request here.

Press:

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Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. Visit www.ccrjustice.org; follow @theCCR.