NEW YORK – Council Member Rory I. Lancman today announced new legislation, Int. 1701, at the Jamaica Branch NAACP to require the NYPD to obtain parental consent before using any non-suspect minor as a “filler” in a police lineup. Lancman’s bill specifies that, before a minor can participate as a filler in a lineup, a parent or legal guardian must sign a consent form containing the following information: the description of the lineup, where and when the lineup will be held, the name of the supervising officer, and notification if the teenager’s image will be used in any other identification procedures.
Lancman’s new legislation comes after an incident in Bellerose earlier this year in which an individual under the age of 18 was used as a filler in a police lineup, without first obtaining consent from the minor’s parents. Using a non-suspect minor in a police lineup, without prior parental consent, is a clear breach of the NYPD’s internal protocol.
As the Queens Chronicle reported, community members voiced their outrage that a minor was used a filler in a police lineup at June meetings for Community Board 13 and the 105th Precinct Community Council.
“Parents should know and approve of any situation where a minor is being asked to be involved in a law enforcement operation,” said Council Member Rory I. Lancman, chair of the Committee on Courts & Legal Services. “We need to take action to ensure that what happened in Bellerose earlier this year does not happen again. My legislation will codify existing internal NYPD policy into law, and ensure that both law enforcement and community members understand the protocol that must be followed if a minor is to be used as a filler in a police lineup.”
Police officers routinely ask community members to participate as non-suspect fillers in lineups, especially when dealing with short time constraints, in order to secure a “fair lineup.” Community members who participate as fillers are compensated for their time.
While police officers are permitted to inquire if individuals under the age of 18 would like to participate as fillers, officers are supposed to obtain written permission from a parent or legal guardian for a non-suspect minor prior to the lineup.
“Today we stand with clergy and community leaders in full support of legislation introduced by Councilman Rory Lancman mandating the NYPD obtain written parental consent before using a minor as a filler in a police lineup,” said Leroy Gadsden, President of the Jamaica Branch NAACP. “Until a child reaches adulthood, a parent is vested with the authority to make decisions in every aspect of the child’s life. If parental consent is required in writing for something as routine as a school field trip then truly they should granted the right to make a decision in something as precious and dear as their child’s freedom and liberty.”
“I am happy to be part of the conversation going forward that will help shape this proposed legislation and I am confident that the bonds we make with our elected officials will bring the true voice of the people to the forefront of the political arena where it currently is not,” said Jonathan Logan, a concerned parent.
“This legislation is very personal to me, it is very personal to the young men who I speak with on a daily basis, and to my three daughters who grew up in this community. I wholeheartedly support this bill,” said Kevin Livingston, Founder of 100 Suits for 100 Men.