10 Lawsuits Against The NYPD That You Should Know About


Yesterday, the Voice reported on a lawsuit filed against the NYPD, which alleges that the department’s “Dead or Likely To Die” accident policy leads to botched investigations.

But this is hardly the only suit to hit the department recently.

So we have put together a guide to ten key court claims, which involve everything from negligence to grooming to religion. (Note: some categories include more than one filing, but the number totals ten.)

Pedestrian and Cyclist Deaths

We mentioned this before, but Jacob Stevens is suing the department, claiming officers dragged their feet when investigating the car that fatally struck his wife, Clara Heyworth.
This suit, reportedly the first of its kind, puts to question the NYPD’s treatment of cycling and pedestrian deaths.

Hasidic Jewish Beards

NYPD recruit Fishel Litzman, a 38-year-old father of three and Hasidic Jew, was canned Friday because his beard was too long. But, you know, having a beard is part of being a Hasidic Jew and all, so he’s planning on suing the department. Of note: The NYPD has had problems with religious dress requirements before. Remember that top brass has long struggled with Sikhs, who grow beards and wear turbans as part of their religion.

Muslim Spy Scheme

Not too long after The Associated Press uncovered the NYPD’s surveillance of entire Islamic communities in the Northeast, a major Muslim advocacy group has slammed the department with a civil rights suit, demanding an end to spying.

Anti-Gay Muslim Bias

This news just broke today: A Muslim cop hopeful has decided to take the Police Academy to court, claiming it’s discriminating against him because of his anti-gay bias, reports the New York Post. The paper claims that he checked the “‘yes’ box next to the question, ‘Do you believe that homosexuals should be locked up?'” — which disqualified him for cadet candidacy. He says that Islam treats homosexuality as a sin, so the department’s policies are discriminatory, he claims.

Treatment of Occupy Wall Street Protestors

One class-action suit lambastes the NYPD’s barricading tactics . Other Occupy-oriented civil court actions claim First Amendment violations and police harassment of demonstrators.

Arrest Quotas

A Federal judge agreed in April to give class status to 22 New Yorkers who say the NYPD’s quota system, which officials deny exists, “leads street cops to hand out summonses even when no crime or violation has occurred just to meet productivity demands from their bosses.”

Adrian Schoolcraft, NYPD Whistleblower and NYCLU

As chronicled by Graham Rayman, Adrian Schoolcraft was locked up in a psych ward after claiming his commanders manipulated crime statistics. He made recordings inside the precinct confirming these manipulation allegations, however. He’s suing the department, as is the New York Civil Liberties Union. The NYCLU says Schoolcraft’s precinct won’t turn over public records.


Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting the Village Voice and our advertisers.