On October 3, the Legal Aid Society unveiled the largest public database of New York City Police Department (NYPD) misconduct compiled to date. Named Law Enforcement Lookup (LELU), it contains 450,000 misconduct records, including some from the Department of Correction (DOC) officers who staff city jails.
LELU is a one-stop shop created under the Legal Aid Society’s Cop Accountability Project (CAP). It combines multiple sources of records on the NYPD’s current roster. You can search any officer’s name for documents including civil lawsuits and Civilian Complaint Review Board records, as well as internal misconduct records. Records are updated weekly, or posted when obtained by the Legal Aid Socity. DOC disciplinary records are available from 2019 and 2020, as well payroll from both departments’ past three fiscal years.
CAP Staff Attorney Jennvine Wong told Filter that they “encourage more records to be proactively released.”
In 2020, the state legislature repealed New York Civil Rights Law section 50-A, which for nearly 50 years had shielded law enforcement misconduct from public records requests made under the state’s Freedom of Information Law.
Then-Mayor Bill de Blasio opposed the repeal, and even went to court to fight the release of CCRB records on Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who killed Staten Island resident Eric Garner in 2014.
LELU is still not a complete record of NYPD misconduct.
“For too long, City Hall, the NYPD, and DOC withheld these misconduct records from the public, although these records contain critical information that all New Yorkers should have access to,” Tina Luongo, chief attorney of the Criminal Defense Practice at the Legal Aid Society, stated in a press release.
LELU is still not a complete record of NYPD misconduct. CAP is currently working on getting NYPD to hand over years of documents relating to both substantiated and unsubstantiated allegations, which law enforcement officers are opposing in court.
“We would love to see an easily accessible, one-stop resource from the City that combines the various different agencies’ data into one place much like how we have endeavored to do with LELU,” Wong said.
Photograph by ajay_suresh via Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons 2.0