On May 21, 2011, plaintiffs, two men of color, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and state law against the City of New York in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Foley Square. The plaintiffs, represented by the New York Civil Liberties Union, asked the ...
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On May 21, 2011, plaintiffs, two men of color, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and state law against the City of New York in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Foley Square. The plaintiffs, represented by the New York Civil Liberties Union, asked the court for injunction and compensatory relief, claiming that their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights had been violated. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) had violated their rights by unreasonably searching them during routine livery cab stops.
On September 3, 2010, at 11:30 P.M., one plaintiff, a lawyer in the Bronx, was leaving work and chose to use a livery cab. The cab was enrolled in the Taxi/Livery Robbery Inspection Program (TRIP), which gave consent for the cab to be stopped and inspected by the NYPD. The cab displayed a decal that indicated enrollment in TRIP. The NYPD stopped the livery cab, and ordered the plaintiff out of the vehicle. The plaintiff protested the search without reasonable suspicion, but the police indicated that enrollment in the TRIP program gave them the right to search passengers in the livery cab. Nothing was found.
On October 30, 2010, at 3:00 A.M., the second plaintiff, who was a manager at a popular radio station and a comedian, was returning to his home in Brooklyn in a livery cab. This cab was also enrolled in TRIP. The car was stopped and the plaintiff ordered to exit the vehicle, at which point the plaintiff's person and belongings were searched. Again, nothing was found.
The plaintiffs' case was accepted by the NYCLU and the New York University School of Law Civil Rights Clinic, and a complaint was filed alleging that the search of passengers in livery cabs without reasonable suspicion was unconstitutional.
On May 14, 2012, the Court (Judge Richard M. Berman) entered a stipulation and order of dismissal, because the case had settled. The Settlement contained $10,000 relief for each plaintiff ($20,000 total), $38,000 in attorney's fees, and injunctive-like provisions. The NYPD agreed to suspend its routine searching of passengers of vehicles that were pulled over as part of the TRIPS program. The NYPD further agreed that it would only search passengers when reasonable suspicion of a violent crime existed. Furthermore, the NYPD provided information that it was amending its training manual, informing officers at roll-call citywide (repeating it for 10 day periods, for three times over the next year), and issuing an operations order communicating the order to not search passengers absent reasonable suspicion of a violent crime during a TRIP stop.
The case was dismissed with the approval of the settlement.Blase Kearney - 05/20/2012