NYC Civil Liberties Union Sues To Obtain Data On Lower Manhattan Security Plan

When the New York Police Department refused to release its database of hundreds of thousands of civilian “stop and frisk” encounters, the New York Civil Liberties Union sued to obtain the data.

The group went to court again last month after police officials resisted its requests for data on the races of people shot by officers.

On Monday, lawyers with the civil liberties group opened up a new front, filing a suit seeking information about the department’s proposed Lower Manhattan Security Initiative.

The security plan envisions a London-like “ring of steel” around downtown, with mobile teams of heavily armed officers as well as technology including closed-circuit television cameras, license plate readers and explosive trace detection systems. In a segment of the plan called Operation Sentinel, the department also proposes to photograph every vehicle entering Manhattan, scan the license plates and use sensors to check for radiation, and then keep the information on file for at least a month.

While Operation Sentinel was not specifically mentioned in the lawsuit, Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the civil liberties group, said her organization wanted details on that program as well.

“We are trying to get information about all of that stuff, and what we’ve gotten, which is outlined in our petition, is bare bones,” Ms. Lieberman said. “We don’t know what the geographical scope is, and we don’t know what the data-collection scope is.”

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