The Legal Defense Fund has always worked to ensure that our nation’s criminal justice laws are administered fairly and without regard to race. LDF’s criminal justice practice uses litigation, advocacy, and public education to eliminate racial bias in our criminal justice system.

case spotlight

Davis v. City of New York

Are residents of public housing in New York City entitled to be free from police harassment in their homes just like other New Yorkers? Can they be stopped or arrested without regard for their rights? Has NYC criminalized traveling home or visiting a friend while black or brown?

On January 29, 2010, a group comprised of residents of, and visitors to, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residences filed a class action lawsuit against NYCHA and the City of New York, Davis, et al. v. City of New York, et al.

The case challenges the NYPD’s practices of unlawful stops and arrests of NYCHA residents and their visitors for criminal trespass without sufficient evidence and due to their race and/or ethnicity. Many of these unconstitutional stops and arrests are the product of “vertical sweeps,” an NYPD practice of stopping individuals in or around common areas of NYCHA residences without individualized suspicion. In essence, the NYPD only operates these unlawful pedestrian checkpoints in communities of color.

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