Bronx Defenders Asks NY Supreme Court to Compel NYPD to Produce Property Seizure Records
March 21, 2017, New York –The Bronx Defenders has asked the NY Supreme Court to compel the NYPD to appear at a hearing to explain its property seizure database and to produce internal records about policies and procedures involving millions of dollars in cash and property seized during arrests each year.
The Bronx Defenders sued the NYPD in August of last year, arguing that the department has refused to provide all relevant records subject to release under the state’s Freedom of Information Law. In response, the NYPD argued that its Property and Evidence Tracking System (PETS), as currently configured, is not able to provide all the requested information, including a breakdown of how much money and property it seizes during arrests, from whom, and what percentage is kept or returned.
“We’ve asked the Court to call the NYPD to the stand to testify about what information can be provided from the PETS system,” said Adam Shoop, who argued the case on behalf of The Bronx Defenders. “These are practices that affect tens of thousands of people every year, and New Yorkers have a right to know what the NYPD is doing with all this money. All the facts suggest it’s possible to obtain information about these seizures using PETS, and the NYPD must be compelled to produce it.”
The NYPD began using PETS in 2012. At the time, the system’s architects described the 25-million-dollar software as a “leader in total system availability, scalability, security, and reliability” used by Fortune 500 companies throughout the world.
“When the police seizes money or other assets from people, transparency is absolutely critical. We look forward to the NYPD complying with its obligations under the law to make this information available to the public,” said Eric Feder of Davis, Wright Tremaine LLP.
The firm of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is co-counsel in this case.