In a recent article published by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU is saying that it has not been able to get information about the policies and practices of 23 different police departments in the state. The ACLU asked for information about police practices concerning detentions, traffic stops, using force, complaining about misconduct, surveillance tech. and racial profiling — but all it received was red tape in return.
By way of the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), New York police must respond swiftly and completely to information requests. Furthermore, only a narrow set of records should fall into categories where they are not shareable with the public. However, instead of providing the information requested by the ACLU, the police departments sometimes denied the requests or claimed that they didn’t have sufficient resources to respond. The ACLU was left confused by the secrecy of police departments in this regard.
When the Ramapo police department provided information to the ACLU, the police department blanked out the areas that talked about policies relating to when police may use deadly force. Ramapo said that it didn’t want the information to get out to criminals who might then change their behavior in a way that would prevent an officer from using deadly force. This revelation is somewhat frightening. Is it that they didn’t want citizens to know how to act in a way that would prevent themselves from getting killed?
Police violence and police misconduct continue to be serious problems in New York. If you or your family member was hurt or killed by an officer of the law due to no fault of his or her own, you may be able to pursue financial justice and restitution in court.
Source: ACLU, “Police Departments Across New York Are Being Run Like Secret Clubs,” Bobby Hodgson, Sep. 27, 2017