federal judge in Manhattan handed down an important ruling by declaring
unconstitutional the NYPD’s “Trespass Affidavit Program”
for private residential buildings in New York City. This program was also referred to by the Department as “Operation
Clean Halls”. The judge declared that the program and the Department’s
policy and lax training essentially caused police officers to stop and
frisk people entering, leaving, and walking the halls of private residential
buildings without any cause to do so. Indeed, the NYCLU, who spear-headed
the case, managed to successfully demonstrate that the Department had
been systematically searching persons without any suspicion of illegal
activity and sometimes even arresting wholly innocent individuals solely
because they were inside of or around buildings that voluntarily participated
in the program.
Hopefully, this decision leads to further curtailing of unconstitutional
stop-and-frisk policies enacted by the NYPD, either through voluntary
changes by the NYPD or further court decisions on the constitutionality
of similar policies.
Interestingly, this decision may make it easier for people to succeed and
win solid settlements in lawsuits against the City stemming from false
trespass arrests. The Bronx District Attorney’s Office, for example,
recently changed its policy on the prosecution of these matters, and as
a result, a large number of people falsely arrested recently for “trespassing”
have had their cases “DP’d”, or dismissed as a result
of the District Attorney’s Office decision to “decline prosecution”.
What many of these individuals that were released by the prosecutor might
not realize is that they can win significant settlements for these false
arrests, depending upon the length of time that they were unconstitutionally
held against their will by the police.
If you or a loved one have been falsely arrested for allegedly trespassing,
you should strongly consider pursuing a lawsuit with the assistance of
an experienced civil rights attorney.
Contact one today for a free initial consultation to see whether you might
be entitled to a cash settlement from the City.
8 U.S.C. 1983,
declined to prosecute,
false arrest trespass,
new york city,
new york county,
New York Police Department,
Operation Clean Halls,
stop and frisk,
trespass affidavit program,