Renewing the Fight Against Discriminatory Policing in Buffalo
On April 23rd, NCLEJ filed an amended complaint in Black Love Resists in the Rust v. City of Buffalo. Five additional plaintiffs joined our lawsuit against the City of Buffalo, New York challenging the Buffalo Police Department (BPD)’s systemic practice of targeting Black and Latinx communities for aggressive and punitive traffic enforcement. The lawsuit alleges that the BPD disproportionately ticketed Black and Latinx drivers, in part to generate revenue for the City.
Nearly half of all traffic tickets were issued to residents of just four zip codes, in each of which the non-white population was 84% or greater, and the number of tickets issued increased after the creation of a municipal agency allowing the City to keep all of the revenue from traffic tickets. Non-white drivers are also more than 40% more likely than white motorists to receive multiple tickets in a single stop, often for the same offense, such as tinted windows.
Additionally, since the lawsuit was first filed in June of 2018, the City enacted thirteen additional fees totaling several hundred dollars that are added onto traffic tickets.
Claudia Wilner, NCLEJ’s Director of Litigation and Advocacy said, “BPD’s ticketing practices violate the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, which prohibit unreasonable seizures, racial discrimination, and policing for profit.”
Plaintiffs have lost everything from their licenses, to their vehicles and their livelihoods as a result.
NCLEJ brings this case along with our co-counsel at the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Western New York Law Center.