The New York Police Department must disclose documents and video revealing surveillance of Black Lives Matter protestors at Grand Central Terminal in 2014 and 2015, a judge has ruled. The case, brought by protester James Logue, challenged the NYPD’s denial of a Freedom of Information Law request for information on its monitoring of rallies following the police killings of Eric Garner in Staten Island and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
Logue decided to file the request after suspecting that police were “compiling dossiers” on individuals at the peaceful protest, his attorney David Thompson said. The NYPD had argued that revealing its tactics would interfere with law enforcement work. But Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Manuel Mendez ruled the NYPD could not decline to comply with the law on such “overly broad” grounds.
NYPD authorities “make blanket assertions and fail to particularize or distinguish their surveillance or undercover techniques and records,” Mendez wrote, adding that the department had failed to show why the use of redactions could not protect ongoing investigative work.
The judge noted that the MTA and Metro-North, which also monitored the rallies, responded to Logue’s FOIL request with some paperwork. Mendez ordered the NYPD to comply with Logue’s request within 30 days. He signed the ruling last Monday, though it was made public Wednesday.
The city of New York is paying out $2.7 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the mother of Avonte Oquendo, the 14 year-old autistic child whose body was found in New York’s East River in January 2014 three months after he disappeared from his Queens, N.Y., school, the New York Daily News reports.
The suit accused school officials and the New York Police Department’s school safety division of negligence for not monitoring the exit doors of the school and not properly supervising Avonte, who was nonverbal and also had a history of being a flight risk.
“The loss of a child is a tragedy no family should endure, and hopefully, the resolution of this legal matter will bring some measure of solace to Avonte’s family.” the city’s Law Department spokesperson, Nicholas Paolucci, said.
“The Department of Education has taken a number of steps and is dedicated to taking every measure possible to prevent something like this from occurring again,” Paolucci added.
There’s a new boss in charge over at the New York Police Department and she’s making history with her seat at the top of the totem pole.
Kim Royster is currently the Commanding Officer in the NYPD’s Public Information Office and is set to be promoted to Deputy Chief at the end of this month, which will make her the highest ranking African-American woman in the history of the NYPD. As her history with the department goes, Kim is a 30-year NYPD veteran who first got her start in 1985 as a police administrative aid and has since worked her way to her current position as commanding officer.
Among Kim’s most notable accomplishments is her reputation for being the “driving force” behind NYC’s gun buy-back program, which has been credited with the removal of over 8,000 weapons off of the streets, according to the New York Daily News.
The million dollar question, of course, is how much of an impact Kim will be able to have on making necessary changes within the NYPD in the wake of the current tension between police and the Black community, and the answer is that she’ll reportedly be in a position to make things happen at her discretion. A “high-ranking source” tells the NYDN that as the Deputy Chief, one of Kim’s primary responsibilities will be to over see the recruitment process for the police academy and remain involved with the process through its’ completion.
Congratulations to Kim Royster on her promotion. We look forward to seeing ways in which she is able to bring about a change for the better within the NYPD.
NEW YORK (AP) — The number of street stops under the police department’s heavily criticized stop-and-frisk tactic has plummeted 80 percent in recent months compared with the same time last year, and officers are recovering fewer weapons, according to police department data obtained Monday. There were slightly more than 21,000 stops for July, August and September, after police changed training methods. There were 106,000 stops during the same months last year.
Officers recovered 99 firearms, down from 198 last year, and 463 knives, down from 1,016, according to the quarterly data provided to the City Council. Police chief spokesman John McCarthy said there’s no “predetermined or correct number of stops,” just as there isn’t with arrests. “Ultimately, police officers make their decisions based on real-time observations from the field — and those stops are based on reasonable suspicion,” he said.
The decline comes around a federal judge’s August ruling that the police department’s policy of stopping and questioning people based on reasonable suspicions a crime is about to occur or has occurred unfairly targeted minorities. The judge ordered major reforms to the stop-and-frisk program after four men who argued they were unfairly targeted sued the city. Her ruling is on hold pending a city appeal. The head of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Donna Lieberman, said the precipitous drop in stops is good news and proves the city, which is on track to have a record low number of murders this year, can stay safe without excessively stopping and frisking people.
“Even as (Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s) administration doggedly defends its stop-and-frisk program in court and in the public, these numbers are tacit recognition that it’s misguided and not necessary for the public safety,” she said.