Civil rights group sues NYPD for records of Mayor Adams’ involuntary removal plan

GOTHAMIST, Chau Lam, March 17, 2023 

The New York Civil Liberties Union is suing the NYPD and its police commissioner to get its hands on public records that would shed light on Mayor Eric Adams’ directive to involuntarily transport people suspected of having mental illness to hospitals for psychiatric evaluations.

The civil rights organization filed the lawsuit on Friday in state Supreme Court in Manhattan after failing to get the information out of the NYPD via a freedom of information request filed in December.

The group is asking a judge to force the police department and Commissioner Keechant Sewell to turn over training materials, policies, protocols and other critical records relating to the mayor’s mental health involuntary removal plan.

Beth Haroules, a senior staff attorney at the NYCLU and director of Disability Justice Litigation, said the police department has also been blowing off the City Council, the public advocate and others who want to know how officers are carrying out Adams’ plan.

“So, there are a lot of different avenues trying to get the city to just release what is, by law, publicly available information about an initiative that really fundamentally could be an assault on core rights of New Yorkers who happen to be poor, who happen to have no house, who happen to have a mental illness for which services, as we know, are generally not available,” Haroules said.

Adams’ office did not respond to requests for comment. The NYPD declined to comment on the pending litigation, according a department spokesperson.

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