The New York Civil Liberties Union today unveiled the “Stop and Frisk Watch” app that allows New Yorkers to monitor police activity and report NYPD officers who conduct unlawful stop-and-frisk encounters and other police misconduct.

“Stop and Frisk Watch is about empowering individuals and community groups to confront abusive, discriminatory policing,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said in a statement. “The NYPD’s own data shows that the overwhelming majority of people subjected to stop-and-frisk are black or Latino, and innocent of any wrongdoing. At a time when the Bloomberg administration vigorously defends the status quo, our app will allow people to go beyond the data to document how each unjustified stop further corrodes trust between communities and law enforcement.”

In February the NYPD released stop-and-frisk statistics to the City Council that revealed the highest number of stops ever recorded in one year. Out of 684,330 stop-and-frisk stops, 87% percent of those stopped in 2011 were black or Latino, and nine out of ten persons stopped were not arrested, nor did they receive summonses.

An NYCLU analysis showed that black and Latino males between the ages of 14 and 24 accounted for 41.6 percent of stops in 2011, though they make up only 4.7 percent of the city’s population. The number of stops of young black men exceeded the city’s entire population of young black men.

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A Mother's Fight Against Stop and Frisk

The Gotham Gazette has a powerful story about the racist and unconstitutional policy of Stop and Frisk, the NYPD policy that permits an officer — without a warrant — to stop, interrogate and frisk anyone the officer thinks is “suspicious.” The paper writes about Mary Black, a mother in Harlem, and her 16 year old son’s experiences with stop-and-frisk:

Double-checking the whereabouts of her youngest child, knowing the parents of his friends—these methods helped her to successfully raise her first two. But these stop-and frisk-incidents added an unexpected chapter to her already dog-eared parenting handbook. They required interactions with the criminal justice system that Black had not anticipated. Her son did not have a record but each stop increased her fear that soon, he would.

The NYCLU released a report on stop-and-frisk that found that:

[M]ore than 4 million innocent New Yorkers were subjected to police stops and street interrogations from 2004 through 2011, and that black and Latino communities continue to be the overwhelming target of these tactics. Nearly nine out of 10 stopped-and-frisked New Yorkers have been completely innocent, according to the NYPD’s own reports:

In 2010, 601,055 New Yorkers were stopped by the police: 517,458 were totally innocent (86 percent); 317,642 were black (53 percent); 190,491 were Latino (32 percent)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, often a defender of video surveillance, opposed a judge’s demand for a program in some precincts; the New York Civil Liberties Union, meanwhile, backed the move.

I guess what’s good for the goose isn’t as good for the gander. Or the pig.

Salvation Army of New York Settles Lawsuit, Agrees Not to Ask Employees About Religious Beliefs

Salvation Army of New York Settles Lawsuit, Agrees Not to Ask Employees About Religious Beliefs

Salvation Army members sing and dance at Rockefeller Center during Black Friday Sales in New York November 29, 2013. Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving Day holiday, has traditionally been the busiest shopping day in the United States. (REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

The Salvation Army has settled a lawsuit brought a decade ago by now-former employees who accused the U.S. charity of pressuring…

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NEW YORK (AP) Civil rights groups took the first step Thursday in appealing a finding by a federal judge in New York City that the National Security Agency’s collection of Americans’ phone records is legal.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a one-page notice of appeal in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"We believe that the NSA’s call-tracking program violates both statutory law and the constitution, and we look forward to making our case in the appeals court," ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer said in a statement.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment.

Report cites connection between "stop and frisk," school suspensions

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School suspensions and police stops on the street are highest in the same neighborhoods with many black and Latino residents, according to a new report from the New York Civil Liberties Union.

The NYCLU has advocated against both “stop and frisk” and the use of suspensions as a disciplinary strategy in city schools. In the new report, it argues that with research about the “school-to-prison pipeline” more robust now than before the Bloomberg administration, the next mayor should decrease reliance on suspensions. The next mayor should also diminish the presence of police in schools and introduce alternatives to punitive discipline policies, the group recommends.

Read the whole report. Then take a look at our coverage of school safety issues and the efforts — by the NYCLU and others — to change the way the city handles student misbehavior.

"They just stop em and frisk, ya better move real lightly / I heard they got a contest, ask Bill O’Reilly…"

“Stop and Frisk Watch” –- a free and innovative smart phone application that will empower New Yorkers to monitor police activity and hold the NYPD accountable for unlawful stop-and-frisk encounters and other police misconduct.

Stop and Frisk Watch is available in English and Spanish, thanks to a translation by Make the Road New York. Initially available for Android phones, an iPhone version will be released later this summer. The app allows bystanders to fully document stop-and-frisk encounters and alert community members when a street stop is in progress. It has three primary functions:

  • RECORD: This allows the user to film an incident with audio by simply pushing a trigger on the phone’s frame. Shaking the phone stops the filming. When filming stops, the user immediately receives a brief survey allowing them to provide details about the incident. The video and survey will go to the NYCLU, which will use the information to shed light on the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices and hold the Department accountable for its actions.
  • LISTEN: This function alerts the user when people in their vicinity are being stopped by the police. When other app users in the area trigger Stop and Frisk Watch, the user receives a message reporting where the police stop is happening. This feature is especially useful for community groups who monitor police activity.
  • REPORT: This prompts the survey, allowing users to report a police interaction they saw or experienced, even if they didn’t film it.

Click here to watch the New York Civil Liberties Union video and download the app for your phone.

NYCLU Report Exposes NY’s Failure to Provide Public Defense to Poor in Violation of Constitution

" The New York Civil Liberties Union today released a report revealing grim new data regarding New York State’s abject failure to provide public defense services to poor people accused of crimes, a violation of the U.S. Constitution, state constitution and the laws of New York. The new report also features testimonials from New Yorkers across the state whose families, homes and livelihoods were devastated by the broken public defense system. 9 17 2014

State of Injustice: How New York State Turns its Back on the Right to Counsel for the Poor

Report: State of Injustice: How New York State Turns its Back on the Right to Counsel for the Poor (2014) New York State Failing its Constitutional Duty on Public Defense, NYCLU Lawsuit Charges

read more http://goo.gl/B5ucTb ” via -

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Boxed In: The True Cost of Extreme Isolation in New York Prisons

An analysis by the NYCLU revealed that innocent New Yorkers have been subjected to police stops and street interrogations more than 5 million times since 2002, and that black and Latino communities continue to be the overwhelming target of these tactics. Nearly nine out of 10 stopped-and-frisked New Yorkers have been completely innocent, according to the NYPD’s own reports…

ACLU Asks Supreme Court to Hear Indiana and Wisconsin Marriage Equality Cases

" FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: 212-549-2666, media@aclu.org

NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union is filing responses today to petitions from Indiana and Wisconsin seeking U.S. Supreme Court review of a federal appellate court ruling last week striking down bans on marriage for same-sex couples in both states. The ACLU, which represents plaintiffs in both cases, has asked the Court to grant review in order to resolve the marriage equality issue for these two states and for the country as a whole.

The ACLU argued on behalf of thirteen plaintiff couples, one widow and two children in cases challenging bans on marriage for same-sex couples in Indiana (Fujii v. Commissioner, one of three cases consolidated under the name Baskin v. Bogan) and Wisconsin (Wolf v. Walker). The ACLU is also co-counsel in Bostic v. Schaeffer, a case challenging Virginia’s marriage ban on behalf of a certified class of approximately 14,000 same-sex couples. Petitions have also been filed from cases in Oklahoma and Utah challenging those states’ marriage bans.

"Now that there are petitions before the Court in five cases, it’s crystal clear that the Court needs to take up the freedom to marry issue again. Same-sex couples from every corner of the country are affected, and the high court has the opportunity to end the harm caused by these discriminatory and unconstitutional marriage bans," said James Esseks, Director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. "Since last June, dozens of courts around the country have ruled in favor of equality for loving and committed same-sex couples. With these filings, we hope it’s only a matter of time before all Americans in all fifty states have the freedom to marry."

The ACLU has been working for the rights of LGBT people since 1936, when it brought its first gay rights case. The ACLU filed the first freedom-to-marry lawsuit for same-sex couples in 1970, represented Edie Windsor in her successful challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013, and has filed thirteen federal marriage lawsuits on behalf of same-sex couples since then.

For more information on the ACLU’s work to secure marriage equality across the country, visit
https://www.aclu.org/out-freedom http://goo.gl/XNrcjX ” via -

City Council Must Require NYPD to Disclose its Use of Force Training

" The New York Civil Liberties Union today submitted testimony to the New York City Council Public Safety Committee demanding increased oversight and transparency regarding the NYPD’s use of force, officer training, and violations enforcement. 9 8 2014 Related Pages:  Testimony Regarding the NYPD’s Training on Use of Force

read more http://goo.gl/davFGf ” via -

NYPD Body Cameras Should be a Win-Win

" In response to an expected announcement later today that the NYPD will soon begin a pilot program where officers wear body cameras, the leadership of the New York Civil Liberties Union issued the following statement, attributable to NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman: 9 4 2014

read more http://goo.gl/9fSTft ” via -

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