New York City cops are no longer permitted to detain people while checking if there’s a warrant for their arrest – unless they believe the person committed a crime or is about to do so, according to a settlement filed in Manhattan federal court Friday.
Updated language in the patrol guide — filed in the settlement — says cops will now have to cut loose people they stop when officers wrap up their work on the specific issue.
“Once the tasks tied to the reason for the stop are completed or reasonably should have been completed, a person may not continue to be detained to search for a warrant,” it states.
The NYPD previously – and unconstitutionally – detained people while running a check in databases for open warrants, investigation cards and other information that could lead to their arrest, according to allegations in the lawsuit brought by seven people who were subject to the stops.
Under the settlement, the city agreed to pay five of the plaintiffs a total of $36,000 and will cover $417,000 in legal fees, a spokesperson for the city Law Department said.
The spokesperson downplayed the change to NYPD practice, saying they merely “clarified” existing policy.
“The NYPD is committed to upholding the constitutional rights of individuals, and has agreed to clarify existing policy to make it clear when officers can run a warrant query during a detainment,” Nick Paolucci said.