The DC chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to enforce the release of missing stop-and-frisk data.
The lawsuit was filed at the DC Superior Court on February 16, after MPD did not publish any stop-and-frisk data from March 2020 through February 2021, despite its legal obligation to do so, as per a previous court order and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the ACLU said in a statement.
MPD is required to collect detailed data about stop-and-frisks that its officers conduct, including the race of the person being stopped, according to the Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results (NEAR) Act, which was enacted in March 2016.
DC police have failed to collect the required data for three years following the passage of the Act, prompting a lawsuit from the ACLU of DC, Black Lives Matter DC, and Stop Police Terror Project DC. The judge overseeing the lawsuit ruled in favor of the rights groups. Hence, MPD updated its data-collection system and committed to releasing stop-and-frisk data twice a year.
After MPD failed to uphold its promise and publicly shared only six months worth of data, ACLU filed a FOIA request on January 19, 2021, requesting all NEAR Act data from January 1, 2020 onward. MPD did not respond to the request by February 10, 2021, which was the deadline, leading to the second lawsuit filed by ACLU on Tuesday, the organization stated in its release.
“While MPD drags its feet, the public’s concerns about the policing of Black people are more pressing than ever and grow more urgent each day,” the release said.
Mentioning the DC Council’s upcoming hearings on MPD’s performance oversight, budget and the confirmation for the mayor’s police chief nominee, ACLU stated “But without any stop-and-frisk data from 2020, the Council and the public will not have the necessary data to assess how MPD is doing its job and whether it is overpolicing Black people in the District.”
According to ACLU’s analysis, Black people made up 72 percent of all individuals stopped by DC police revealed in the six months of data from 2019, while they consist only 47 percent of the city’s population.
“Furthermore, 86% of stops did not lead to a warning, ticket, or arrest, and 91% of searches that did not lead to a warning, ticket, or arrest, were of Black people, supporting an inference that Black people are more likely to have been stopped by MPD without justification,” ACLU noted.