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March 6, 2019, 10:45 AM

Legal Aid Society posts database detailing thousands of lawsuits against the NYPD

By Graham Rayman

Details of thousands of lawsuits against the NYPD and its officers became available online Wednesday.

The Legal Aid Society posted a database Wednesday sharing the names and assignments of officers who have been sued, and cross referencing them with the number of suits filed against them, the amounts of money the city has paid to settle cases, and whether or not they have been disciplined by the department.

The database holds 2,358 civil rights lawsuits between January 2015 and June 2018, including 740 cases which settled for nearly $50,00,000 combined. Cops’ salaries and promotion information is also available.

“CAPstat will help New Yorkers gain a more thorough understanding of lawsuits filed against the NYPD for misconduct and will help the public hold the NYPD accountable for reoccurring patterns of misconduct that the department itself routinely ignores,” said Cynthia Conti-Cook, Staff Attorney with Legal Aid’s Special Litigation Unit.

“With today’s launch, we join a national movement including fellow defenders, advocates, and community members to shed much needed daylight on police departments and their actions.”

The data collection was inspired in part by the city’s position on police disciplinary records — that they are confidential under state Civil Rights Law section 50-a.

Police Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch is not pleased.

“The intent of this database is clearly to help guilty criminals beat the charges against them,” Lynch said. “By publishing this database online, they will be doing even greater damage: anyone with a grudge against cops will be free to peruse the false and frivolous allegations against specific officers and use them as inspiration for a campaign of harassment, intimidation or worse.”

But Public Advocate-elect Jumaane Williams only sees an upside to having the data available.

“Two barriers that we face toward real policing reform are a lack of transparency and accountability — and accountability requires transparency. I believe that the CAPStat database will be a vital tool for the public as well as for the NYPD and advocates to review, to find and address systemic failures,” Williams (D- Brooklyn) said.

Barry Scheck, co-founder of the Innocence Project said the database will help identify patterns of police misconduct. “Transparency will earn the public's trust and promises to deliver more reliable criminal justice outcomes by enabling documented findings of misconduct to be made public,” he said. “Work is being done in this area now in Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore and more - so why not New York? Unfortunately the Empire State has the unique distinction of having the worst law in the country and our entire system of justice suffers for it.”

The website can be found at