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    11, August 2021
    Judge Rules that Class Action Against Suffolk Police Department for Discriminatory Policing Can Proceed 

Judge Rules that Class Action Against Suffolk Police Department for Discriminatory Policing Can Proceed 




August 11, 2021 


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Judge Rules that Class Action Against Suffolk Police Department for Discriminatory Policing Can Proceed 


NEW YORK, August 11, 2021 — In conjunction with civil rights group LatinoJustice PRLDEF, a Milbank pro bono team secured a significant victory in an ongoing class action lawsuit against the Suffolk County Police Department (“SCPD”), Suffolk County, and several former and current police officers and supervisors. A federal judge denied in part SCPD’s motion for summary judgement on August 4, 2021, allowing the case, which alleges that the department has subjected present and former Latino residents of Suffolk County to discriminatory policing, to proceed to trial.

The Honorable Judge William F. Kuntz II of the Eastern District of New York found a rebuttable presumption that adequately analyzed traffic stop data would have enabled defendant Suffolk County to ascertain that SCPD officers had targeted and subjected Latino motorists in Suffolk County to continuing disparate treatment during stops, notwithstanding a 2014 Consent Decree agreement with the United States Department of Justice (“Justice Department”) that required SCPD to reform its policing policies to prevent discrimination against Latino residents. 

The class members allege that SCPD has failed to timely follow through and implement the changes mandated by the Justice Department Consent Decree. The class also alleges that the SCPD has been aware of its systemic discrimination and unconstitutional policing practices for several years, and that its failure to investigate and eliminate these practices indicate deliberate indifference. 

While the lawsuit was originally filed by LatinoJustice in 2015, a federal judge only recentlycertified the class in April 2021 and appointed LatinoJustice and Milbank as class counsel. Milbank joined the case as pro bono lead counsel in 2018. 

Atara Miller, Milbank partner and a member of the pro bono team, said: “We are pleased that the Court is ordering this important case to proceed. SCPD continues to fail its Latino community, but this order sends a signal that biased policing has no place in our society. We look forward to continuing to work with LatinoJustice to hold SCPD accountable to the reform it promised over five years ago.” 

In addition to Ms. Miller, the Milbank team includes associates David Marcou, Michael Mirdamadi, Samantha Lovin, and Alexandra Paslawsky, as well as special counsel Mark Villaverde.

José Pérez, LatinoJustice Deputy General Counsel, added: “This is an important step towards ensuring that the Latino community in Suffolk County will be treated fairly by police officers. The atrocities the community has experienced at the hands of those charged with protecting them is abhorrent, including the racial profiling and the “stopping and robbing” scheme enacted by a police officer. There is no doubt that SCPD desperately needs to overhaul its training and policing policies.”  The LatinoJustice legal team includes Senior Counsel Jackson Chin, Associate Counsel Fulvia Vargas-DeLeon and Senior Legal Assistant Marisabel Kanioros-Abbas.


Additional Materials:

- Memorandum & Order





 About LatinoJustice 

LatinoJustice PRLDEF works to create a more just society by using and challenging the rule of law to secure transformative, equitable and accessible justice, by empowering our community and by fostering leadership through advocacy and education. For nearly 50 years, LatinoJustice PRLDEF has acted as an advocate against injustices throughout the country. To learn more about LatinoJustice, visit