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Flagged for Life

A new report by LatinoJustice PRLDEF “Flagged for Life” reveals that Freeport Village Police Department and Nassau County Police Department secretly and over broadly label Black and Latino residents as “gang members” without due process protections and often without evidentiary support.

Back in November 2021, LatinoJustice PRLDEF began investigating ten Nassau County police departments for its “Flagged for Life: Dragnet “Gang” Surveillance and Policing in Nassau County” report which include the Freeport, Garden City, Glen Cove, Hempstead, Lake Success, Malverne, Nassau County, Old Brookville, Oyster Bay Cove, and Port Washington police departments.

Report Highlights:

  • Individuals have been flagged as gang related for their clothing and appearance (for instance wearing a Chicago Bulls or Oakland Raiders logo), mere presence at a location, or association.
  • NCPD and FVPD continue to label members of the religious group Nation of Gods and Earths as “gang members.”Although a federal judge ruled that they legally constitute a religious organization.
  • About 25% of individuals on Freeport’s Gang Database are labeled as gang members without citation to any reasoning or evidence.
  • Half the individuals on Freeport’s Gang Database have no listed criminal history.NCPD and FVPD engage in unlawful stops and searches of individuals because they look like stereotypes of gang members, associate with suspected gang involved individuals, or are merely present in “gang prone locations.”
  • NCPD and FVPD frequently cite “odor of marijuana” and minor equipment violations as the pretextual basis for conducting investigatory traffic stops and searches.
  • 89% of searches conducted by NCPD cited in the Freeport Gang Database did not result in further officer action.
  • Most gang allegations in Freeport's Gang Database originate from an outside agency, predominantly the Nassau County Police Department.

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This report was written by Meena Roldan Oberdick. LatinoJustice would also like to thank Elizabeth Dia, Brayan Arreola, and Maru Melendez Margarida for their invaluable research support. This report is sponsored in part by a grant from Anonymous, Equal Justice Works.

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