“Court Reinstates Lawsuit Over Police Street-Stop Databases”

Odd thing to me, who reads a lot about lawsuits. Although newspapers do report on the initiation of an important lawsuit, they shrink their coverage when key events happen during the course of the lawsuit.

For instance, both the Daily New and the New York Times (Court Reinstates Lawsuit Over Police Street-Stop Databases – NYTimes.com.) reported this item:

In a further blow to the Police Department’s database of stop-and-frisk interactions, a state appellate court on Thursday reinstated a lawsuit challenging the police’s authority to retain information about people who were arrested after a street stop, but later cleared of criminal charges.

A lawsuit brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union said stops that lead to dismissed charges should also be off limits because state law mandates the sealing of records in criminal cases that are dismissed or downgraded to violations.

Think about this. Think very seriously about what it would mean if the police could keep your name and record on a criminal database … when you didn’t have a record, beyond having been stopped and searched. That is, the police would determine whether you, upon whom nothing illegal was found in their own choice to stop and search you, should be on a database that could be reviewed in the future for potential criminal activity.

I know I shouldn’t use the term “fascism” here, not because it isn’t correct — it is — but because it’s used so often by so many people who do not understand fascism and apparently know nothing of history, I think it might simply roll off your eyes.

Still, let’s give a loud round of applause to the Appellate Division, First Department, for reversing the decision, saying “the plaintiffs risked ‘being targeted in future investigations.'”

And thank you, Joseph Goldstein, for following this case. If you want to tell your NYT editors that I, for one, think stories like this deserve more than 10 column inches, please do.


This entry was posted in Law, suits and order and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.