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[City Limits] The NYPD’s Abuse of Sealed Arrest Records Jeopardizes All New Yorkers

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

In 2012, co-author Natasha Duncan’s sister, Shantel Davis, was shot to death by the NYPD. As Natasha’s family roiled in shock and tried to grieve this devastating loss, the NYPD illegally leaked information about Shantel’s arrest history—much of which was sealed—in a transparent attempt to turn the public against her. In life and in death, the NYPD found ways to illegally target and violate Shantel.

Natasha’s experience is not unusual; the NYPD routinely gives the press sealed information when it suits their political purposes. Last August, the city held a press conference about a report that included the sealed records information of 10 New Yorkers in violation of a court order. The Court later ruled it was a violation of the law, but the damage was already done.

It is high time that the NYPD be required to change. Its unlawful use of these records has primarily harmed Black and brown New Yorkers who bear the brunt of the NYPD’s over-policing of low-income communities of color.

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