Federal Suit Claims Police Manufacture Misdemeanors

Today, ECBA and The Bronx Defenders filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court on behalf of five Bronx residents, charging the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) with targeting Black and Latino communities for marijuana arrests and “manufacturing” misdemeanor crimes against residents in order to meet departmental quotas. All five plaintiffs were falsely accused by NYPD officers of possessing marijuana in “public view,” arrested, held in custody, and charged with misdemeanors. In fact, however, each man possessed only a small amount of marijuana for personal use in his pocket — discovered after an illegal stop and search — for which each should have received a simple ticket under New York law. By lying about the facts, and claiming the marijuana was in “public view,” the NYPD officers turned what would have been, for most New Yorkers, a minor incident, into a full-blown ordeal.

The plaintiffs are represented by Katherine Rosenfeld and Sam Shapiro.

To read the complaint, click here. To read the New York Times article about the case, click here.



Civil Rights Case Filed Against NYPD Alleging Failure to Provide Interpreters

Today, a lawsuit was filed in federal court against the NYPD on behalf of five limited English proficient (LEP) New Yorkers. The plaintiffs, all crime victims, were denied the services of an interpreter by the officers handling their cases, in spite of official City and NYPD policies to provide translation assistance and federal and City laws defending access to police services. As a result, the lawsuit claims, LEP individuals often find themselves unable to report crimes and unable to rely on the NYPD for protection. In some instances, LEP victims of domestic violence with English-proficient abusers were unable to communicate their situation to the responding officers and received no assistance. In addition, the complaint alleges that NYPD officers not only fail to provide translation services, but also degrade and demean LEP individuals because of their language skills.

The plaintiffs in the case are represented by Legal Services NYC. ECBA’s Matt Brinckerhoff is co-counsel on the case. To read more about the case, click  here. To read the complaint, click  here.