Class Action Suit Seeks End to NYPD's 'Operation Clean Halls'
The New York Civil Liberties Union announced this week that lawyers have filed a class-action lawsuit against the New York Police Department’s “Operation Clean Halls,” a program that allows officers to patrol apartment buildings with the landlord’s permission in high-crime areas.
The NYCLU explains:
The NYPD’s enforcement of Operation Clean Halls, a part of the Department’s stop-and-frisk program that allows police officers to patrol thousands of private apartment buildings across New York City, violates the rights of residents of those buildings and their guests – largely black and Latino New Yorkers – according to a federal class-action lawsuit filed today by the New York Civil Liberties Union, LatinoJustice PRLDEF and The Bronx Defenders.
“Operation Clean Halls has placed hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, mostly black and Latino, under siege in their own homes,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna 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 lawsuit comes as scrutiny of the NYPD’s policing tactics has intensified. Occupy Wall Street and activists from the black and Muslim communities have mobilized in recent months to shine a light on NYPD surveillance and the practice of “stop and frisk.” Last weekend, OWS held an anti-police brutality action. 21 people were reportedly arrested at the action.
The NYCLU’s suit against “Operation Clean Halls” is seeking “a declaration that the NYPD’s practices are unlawful and an injunction against them.”
Similar lawsuits have been filed against the NYPD’s broader “stop and frisk” operations, which disproportionately target blacks and Latinos in the city.