WASHINGTON – Today the D.C. Superior Court ordered the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department to begin collecting stop-and-frisk data required by the NEAR Act. MPD has 28 days to comply. The Court ordered the police department to use a one-page form designed by the ACLU of the District of Columbia.
“We are thrilled the Court has ordered D.C. to begin complying, at long last, with the D.C. Council’s three-year-old law mandating data collection about police stops of D.C. residents. It’s a testament to Mayor Bowser and Chief Newsham’s contempt for this law that after three years of inaction, including one year spent in litigation, it took a court order to force compliance,” said Scott Michelman, Legal Co-Director, ACLU-DC. “Today’s ruling affirms that the mayor and the police chief are not above the law.”
"This ruling is an important step forward for transparency and accountability in the District of Columbia,” said Eugene Puryear of Stop Police Terror Project DC, co-plaintiff in the lawsuit. “As the court noted, this data is tremendously important and obtaining it is essential for constructing policies that combat racial inequities in the District. The District government can no longer evade its responsibilities, it's time they follow the letter and intent of the NEAR Act and allow citizens to see the reality behind police procedures."
The Court excoriated the District for its delay, observing that “interim solutions could have been deployed within weeks of the statue’s effective date, had anyone put their mind to it.” The Court also found the plaintiffs had shown that the harm from the District’s noncompliance was irreparable, adding that the District’s “delay robs the community of essential information about the interactions of its police officers with its citizens.”
The one-page form created by ACLU-DC can be found here: https://www.acludc.org/sites/default/files/aclu-dc_proposed_form.pdf
Todays’ decision and more information about the case, Black Lives Matter v. Bowser, can be found here: