QTPOC supports The Legal Aid Society and Cleary Gottlieb’s Demand to End NYPD’s Arbitrary and Discriminatory Enforcement of the Law Against Women of Color
Demand an End to NYPD’s Arbitrary and Discriminatory Enforcement of the Law Against Women of Color
October 03, 2016
The Legal Aid Society and Cleary Gottlieb Challenge the Constitutionality of New York’s Loitering for Prostitution Law:
September 30, 2016, New York, NY – Today, The Legal Aid Society of New York and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is filing a civil rights class action against the City of New York and certain named officers of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) on behalf of women of color, many of whom are transgender, who have been wrongly arrested for innocent conduct under New York Penal Law Section 240.37. The plaintiffs challenge Section 240.37, loitering for the purpose of prostitution, because it is unconstitutional on its face and also because it is unlawfully enforced by NYPD officers who target women for arrest based on race, gender, ethnicity, gender identity, and/or appearance.
“When you look at who is arrested under 240.37, and the pattern since the law was enacted four decades ago, a clear picture of discrimination emerges,” said Tina Luongo, Attorney in Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice of The Legal Aid Society. “The statute must be struck down because it allows this injustice to go on.” According to the complaint filed in the Southern District of New York, data show that 85% of the individuals arrested under Section 240.37 are Black or Latina. Between 2012 and 2015, five precincts in New York City accounted for nearly 70% of all citywide Section 240.37 arrests. These precincts (Bushwick, Brooklyn; Belmont/Fordham Heights, Bronx; East New York, Brooklyn; Hunts Point, Bronx; and Brownsville, Brooklyn) are all in neighborhoods where the majority of residents are people of color.