top of page

NYPD Gang Database: The New "Stop and Frisk" Violating Civil Rights

NYPD's Gang Database: The New "Stop and Frisk" Violating Civil Rights

By Gotcha Media | | September 05, 2023

NYPD Gang Database: The New "Stop and Frisk" Violating Civil Rights

In a striking revelation, the NYPD's gang database has been likened to the controversial "Stop and Frisk" policy, infringing upon the civil rights of Black and Hispanic youth. This alarming parallel is highlighted in the recent report "Guilt by Association" by the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP).

The database, previously under scrutiny by the NYPD's inspector general, is now criticized for unjustly categorizing minority youths as gang members without solid evidence. Such mislabeling can lead to dire outcomes, including false arrests and unwarranted deportations.

The report's unveiling is hot on the heels of a lawsuit by the NAACP, pressing the NYPD

for greater transparency regarding its gang database. This legal move originates from the NYPD's apparent hesitancy to disclose information during a prior Freedom of Information Law request. This hesitancy marks another instance of the NYPD seemingly evading its legal responsibilities, opting to allocate thousands on obstruction lawsuits rather than adhering to its disclosure obligations.

The STOP report delves into the ease with which names find their way into the database. Simple gestures, such as sending birthday wishes to a known gang member on social media or wearing specific colors, can lead to inclusion. The criteria are so unclear that merely living in the same housing complex as an alleged gang member can result in the inclusion of Black and Hispanic youth.

As of April, the database contained roughly 16,000 names, a significant drop from 34,000 in 2014. While the NYPD Inspector General advocates for clearer inclusion criteria, the STOP report argues that no set of safeguards can truly counteract the potential harm these databases present.

Elani Manis, STOP's research director, emphasized the ease of inclusion based on trivial criteria and the near-impossible task of seeking removal. She stressed that these databases appear to offer no clear public safety advantages, especially when weighed against the harm they inflict on the youth.

Yet, the NYPD remains unwavering in its defense of the database, touting it as a pivotal tool for precision policing. As community advocate groups continue their push for transparency concerning the database's operations, the NYPD's silence on the STOP report amplifies concerns about its commitment, or lack thereof, to civil rights.

In recent times, the NYPD has exhibited a pattern of endorsing policies that either bypass or directly infringe upon civil rights. This stance has triggered a slew of lawsuits, costing New York City taxpayers millions in settlements. It seems the NYPD's headquarters, informally termed “One PP”, is deciding which civil rights to honor and which to sidestep in their policies, jeopardizing the foundational rights of Americans in or visiting New York City.

Disturbingly, some officers have been overheard stating, "It's not my money," when faced with civil rights violation lawsuits. In summation, when a city's leadership fails to safeguard its citizens from police overreach, it underscores an urgent call for change. Remember to cast your vote; such rights violations wouldn't persist without the endorsement of New York's Mayor, Eric Adams.

Disclaimer & User Agreement

bottom of page