By Kevin Deutsch
The NYPD has for years maintained an illegal database containing the fingerprints of thousands of underage New Yorkers—many of whom were never convicted of any crime, the agency revealed to defense attorneys this week.
The Legal Aid Society, which for years tried to get police officials to confirm the database’s existence, said the NYPD finally disclosed the massive collection, stating that it had destroyed the database and come into compliance with state law.
Under New York law, only the state is allowed to maintain records of certain juvenile fingerprints, with local governments like New York City’s forbidden from doing so.
“This illegal database existed for years, infringing on young New Yorkers’ rights, in clear violation of the law,” said Dawne Mitchell, Attorney-In-Charge of the Juvenile Rights Practice at The Legal Aid Society. “The Legal Aid Society is proud to have brought an end to this unlawful practice. We call on the New York City Council to hold an immediate oversight hearing” on surveillance of New Yorkers.
NYPD officials involved in the database’s creation and maintenance could not immediately be reached for comment.