Black Police Group Sues NYPD

NEW YORK (AP) — A group of black officers have filed a federal lawsuit, claiming the police department violated their civil rights when it monitored conversations they held on private home and cell phones.

The lawsuit was announced Wednesday by the group 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care. Lt. Eric Adams, a co-founder of the group, said the department was trying to determine who the officers associated with.

``New Yorkers must know that if the police department can do this to a law enforcement body, it can do it to any citizen,'' Adams said.

The lawsuit, filed in October and amended last month, names the city, Verizon and 10 unnamed city employees. It accuses Verizon of improperly providing the department with the officers' phone numbers.

Adams blamed the secret surveillance on Howard Safir, who served as commissioner of the New York Police Department from 1996 to 2000. Safir, who is not named in the lawsuit, denied the department did anything wrong.

Deputy Inspector Chris Rising, a police spokesman, said the NYPD only recently received notice of the lawsuit.

``What we can state is that it is most definitely a policy and practice of the NYPD to comply with all facets of the law when conducting its investigations,'' Rising said.

Verizon spokesman John J. Bonomo said when the company provides information to law enforcement agencies, it does so lawfully.

Adams said he hoped the lawsuit would provide answers about the NYPD's reasons for the monitoring. He said the group waited until now to announce the lawsuit because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The surveillance became public last year when Deputy Chief Raymond King, of the Internal Affairs Bureau, testified in an unrelated trial that his unit had conducted probes of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care and of Adams. He did not describe the allegations being investigated, which were eventually found to be unsubstantiated.

Back to home page