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Case Name Black Love Resists in the Rust v. City of Buffalo CJ-NY-0015
Docket / Court 1:18-cv-00719 ( W.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Policing
Attorney Organization Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)
Case Summary
On June 28, 2018, Black Love Resists in the Rust and four individual plaintiffs filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. The plaintiffs sued the City of Buffalo under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of their rights under the Fourth and ... read more >
On June 28, 2018, Black Love Resists in the Rust and four individual plaintiffs filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. The plaintiffs sued the City of Buffalo under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of their rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment, and under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The plaintiffs, represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, and the Western New York Law Center, Inc., sought both injunctive and monetary relief. They claimed that the City of Buffalo disproportionately used vehicle checkpoints in Black and Latino communities to generate revenue, resulting in disparate impact on Black and Latino people. Specifically, they claimed that over 85% of checkpoints occurred in predominantly Black or Latino neighborhoods; nearly 40% of checkpoints conducted since 2012 occurred in just three of Buffalo's seventy-seven census tracts, each with a Black or Latino population exceeding 86%. The plaintiffs sought an injunction to end and remediate these traffic enforcement practices, as well as monetary damages for financial harm, humiliation, and loss of liberty and property.

According to the complaint, around 2012, the Buffalo Police Department initiated a crime "Strike Force" that implemented a vehicle checkpoint program to conduct stops and searches of drivers without any individualized suspicion of wrongdoing. These checkpoints lasted as long as forty-five minutes and frequently resulted in multiple citations. For example, one class member was issued four separate tickets for having four tinted windows, costing him $720 total. That class member was also forced to choose between jail or the immediate impoundment of his car; he chose the latter, resulting in an addition $125 fee. Under state law, the City of Buffalo kept almost all the revenue collected from traffic tickets. After the checkpoints were instituted in 2015, the number of traffic tickets issued increased by 92%.

On May 21, 2020, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, adding several additional Buffalo residents as plaintiffs. This case is ongoing.

Sara Denbo - 02/01/2019
Bogyung Lim - 06/09/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Procedural Due Process
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.
Defendant(s) City of Buffalo
Plaintiff Description Black Love Resists in the Rust, a grassroots police accountability organization in Buffalo, NY, as well as four class representatives who were subjected to and detrimentally affected by these suspicionless traffic stops.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 06/28/2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Black Love Resists in the Rust v. City of Buffalo
Center for Constitutional Rights
Date: Jul. 19, 2018
By: Center for Constitutional Rights
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:18-cv-00719 (W.D.N.Y.)
CJ-NY-0015-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/29/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-NY-0015-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/28/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Reiss, Christina Clair (D. Vt.) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0015-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Azmy, Baher (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0015-0001 | CJ-NY-0015-9000
Charney, Darius (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0015-0001 | CJ-NY-0015-9000
Cohan, Marc (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0015-0001 | CJ-NY-0015-9000
England, Travis W (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0015-0001 | CJ-NY-0015-9000
Ezie, A. Chinyere (Alabama) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0015-9000
Kelemen, Joseph (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0015-0001 | CJ-NY-0015-9000
Krugman, Edward P. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0015-0001 | CJ-NY-0015-9000
Lau, Theresa (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0015-0001 | CJ-NY-0015-9000
Malhotra, Anjana (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0015-0001 | CJ-NY-0015-9000
Williams, Keisha Alecia (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0015-0001 | CJ-NY-0015-9000
Wilner, Claudia (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0015-0001 | CJ-NY-0015-9000
Wilson, Britney (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0015-0001 | CJ-NY-0015-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Quinn, Robert Emmet (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-NY-0015-9000

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