On May 25, 2010, Plaintiffs -- the class of those arrested without probable cause by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) -- filed this class action lawsuit in the United States Court for the Southern District of New York, against the City of New York under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, ...
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On May 25, 2010, Plaintiffs -- the class of those arrested without probable cause by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) -- filed this class action lawsuit in the United States Court for the Southern District of New York, against the City of New York under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought compensatory, injunctive, and declaratory relief, claiming that they had been deprived of their First and Fourth amendment rights. Specifically, plaintiffs claim that an unwritten 'summons quota' drives NYPD officers to arrest individuals without probable cause, and in violation of the federal and state constitutions.
In 1994, the NYPD instituted the COMPSTAT system, which records the statistics of arrests by type and the amount of summonses issued. Summonses are tickets written by police officers in lieu of arrest for a crime that directs the recipient of the summons to appear in court to face charges. Marijuana violations, disorderly conduct, and obstruction of governmental administration (OGA) are crimes for which summonses are typically issued. Plaintiffs allege that since the institution of the COMPSTAT system, the number of summonses issued has increased of 500%, and that more than half (50.5%) of these charges are dismissed later on.
Plaintiffs allege that the NYPD employs an illegal quota system for summonses, arrests, and quality-of-life violations. An officer's ability to meet quotas, plaintiffs claim, is linked to officer promotion and demotion. This scheme was found by an arbitrator to be illegal under New York labor law.
As part of an effort to meet the quota system, plaintiffs allege, NYPD Precinct commanders ordered officers to issue summons in cases in which there was no probable cause of a crime being committed, plaintiffs claim. They introduced tape recordings of two precinct commanders issuing orders for officers to issue summonses and 'articulate' violations of the law after-the-fact. The plaintiffs further allege that this policy was disproportionately enforced in minority communities in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens. They allege that as a result, they have been falsely arrested and denied their right to peaceable assemble in their own communities.
On April 23, 2012, after hearing the parties on the matter of class certification, the Court (Judge Robert W. Sweet) issued an unpublished Opinion and Order certifying the class as "includ[ing] individuals who were issued summonses that were later dismissed upon a judicial finding of facial insufficiency and who were ticketed without probable cause." The defendants filed a motion for reconsideration on the issue of class certification, but were denied on July 19, 2012.
For the next three years, the parties engaged in discovery and litigated many issues regarding access to evidence during discovery. As of February 15, 2016, this case is still in the discovery phase. Blase Kearney - 06/19/2012
Erin Pamukcu - 02/15/2016