Today: 17.08.2018
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Top detective defends NYPD’s database of suspected gang members.

New York City’s top detective defended the NYPD’s controversial database of suspected gang members in dramatic fashion at the City Council Wednesday — playing three videos demonstrating “the mayhem gangs can inflict on this city.” One showed an alleged gang member firing a gun, sending children and bystanders fleeing; a second showed a gun battle...
Time: 15:32     Date: 13.06.2018
Metro News: Top detective defends NYPD’s database of suspected gang members. NY Post 24 - US News

One showed an alleged gang member firing a gun, sending children and bystanders fleeing; a second showed a gun battle between two feuding gangs inside a bodega; the third had an alleged gang member attempting to gun down a rival, but hitting a man pushing a stroller.

“We show these three to really illustrate a picture is worth a thousand words,” Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea told legislators in a City Hall chamber packed with NYPD critics. “This is the reality of what we see and what we strive to combat with our precision policing techniques.”

The database, he argued, is an essential part of the Police Department’s tool kit in battling gangs, which he said are responsible for about half the shootings in the city.

The hearing comes as New York recorded another year of record low crime, with fewer than 300 people killed last year.

While legislators thanked the police for ever-lower crime levels, they came loaded with two hours of questions and concerns about the controversial database.

Stats showed the system keeps tabs on roughly 17,500 New Yorkers, virtually all of whom are minorities – with African Americans accounting for 65 percent alone.

There were also 17 13-year-olds, 80 14-year-olds and 204 15-year-olds in the database. Shea told lawmakers that no one outside of the NYPD has access to the database.

The NYPD brass told the lawmakers at the hearing that 90 percent of the people in the database have been arrested for at least one felony and 50 percent have been arrested for at least one robbery.

However, they were unable to provide any figures on how many of those arrests resulted in convictions.

Council members came loaded with questions and criticisms.

“The reason we’re here today is because there’s never been any transparency around the database,” said Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Queens), who chairs the Public Safety Committee.

“I think there are a lot of questions that are rightfully being raised.”

Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Queens) repeatedly quizzed NYPD brass about when they share the information with prosecutors and what, if any, rules the department has to guide the process.

“There is a difference in the criminal justice system for someone who is identified as a gang member, this is not without consequence; do you acknowledge that?” Lancman pressed, pointing out that suspected gang members may face enhanced charges or higher bails.

“This is a long discussion in terms of practices and procedure,” Shea responded. “It’s one piece of information that goes to the totality of everything a judge would listen to.”

He later added: “Every case is unique.”

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