The Bad Cop Database

Legal Aid Society’s database already contains information about accusations of wrongdoing against some 3,000 NYPD officers, and is being used regularly by its lawyers.

The Legal Aid Society’s database already contains information about accusations of wrongdoing against some 3,000 NYPD officers, and is being used regularly by its lawyers. (Photo: illustration by Slate. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.)

A radical new idea for keeping tabs on police misconduct.

The Bad Cop Database

The largest organization of public defenders in the country is building a ‘cop accountability’ database, aimed at helping defense attorneys question the credibility of police officers in court. The database was created by the Legal Aid Society, a New York–based nonprofit that represents an average of 230,000 people per year with a staff of more than 650 lawyers. The database already contains information about accusations of wrongdoing against some 3,000 NYPD officers, and is being used regularly by Legal Aid lawyers. The ambition behind the project is to create a clearinghouse for records of police misconduct—something the NYPD itself does not make public—and to share it with defense lawyers all over the city, including those who do not work for Legal Aid.

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