The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) filed a lawsuit against the New York City Police Department (NYPD) Wednesday, alleging that in addition to stopping primarily black and Latino residents in public spaces as part of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program, officers are illegally searching people in private buildings.
According to a press release, the NYCLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of residents whose buildings are apart of “Operation Clean Halls,” an agreement by the NYPD and a landlord that grants officers permission to patrol inside a building at any time.
NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman cited how minorities have been largely affected by the NYPD’s program.
“Operation Clean Halls has placed hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, mostly black and Latino, under siege in their own homes,” Lieberman said. “For residents of Clean Halls buildings, taking the garbage out or checking the mail can result in being thrown against the wall and humiliated by police.”
“Untold numbers of people have been wrongly arrested for trespassing because they had the audacity to leave their apartments without IDs or visit friends and family who live in Clean Halls buildings. This aggressive assault on people’s constitutional rights must be stopped.”
The NYCLU is seeking an injunction that would require the NYPD to stop asking people for their ID’s in the Clean Halls building, as well as to stop arresting people for trespassing without establishing whether or not the person is authorized to be there.
The NYPD’s “Operation Clean Halls” has been in effect in some form since 1991 and is currently used in thousands of buildings across the city, including at least 3,895 buildings in Manhattan.
Between 2006 to 2010, the NYPD made 329,446 stops on suspicion of trespassing, representing more than 12 percent of all stops.