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NY rights group challenges random subway bag searches

[JURIST] The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) [advocacy website] Thursday filed a lawsuit [NYCLU press release] claiming that random searches of bags and packages in the New York City subway system [Mayor Bloomberg radio address transcript] are illegal. The complaint [PDF], filed against New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly [profile] and the city of New York, says the searches violate the unreasonable searches and seizures clause of the Fourth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection guarantee. The NYCLU said that the "random" selection of searched riders has been "discriminatory and arbitrary," but police spokesman Paul Browne denied the allegations and said the department had no plans to comply with a request by New York City Council [official website] to track the races and ethnicities of those searched. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of five individuals [NYCLU profiles of plaintiffs], including three who have had their bags searched. The New York Times has more.

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