DC police accused of failing to record stop-and-frisk data

WASHINGTON — D.C. leaders, including the mayor and police chief, are accused of violating individual liberties in a lawsuit filed by The American Civil Liberties Union and Black Lives Matter DC this week.

The case is about the data D.C. police are required to collect when they conduct stop and frisks.

A 2016 D.C. law requires police to answer more than a dozen questions about each and every stop and frisk including the reason for the search, whether it was consensual and whether contraband was found.

The lawsuit was filed May 8, asking a judge to force the District to comply with the 2016 law.

“There are about 16 different data points they should be collecting. … Without this data there is no transparency from the police department or accountability to communities,” said Monica Hopkins, executive director of ACLU-DC.

D.C. police have told the Council of the District of Columbia that the department currently lacks the resources to collect and store the data and thereby comply with the 2016 law.

“MPD doesn’t accurately track when it stops people, how it stops people, who it stops, which is critically important for the public to understand how policing is done in the District,” said April Goggans, core organizer of Black Lives Matter DC.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, D.C. police Chief Peter Newsham and Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Kevin Donahue are named in the lawsuit, accusing the District of failing to comply with the 2016 Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results Act (NEAR Act).

Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

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