September rally to abolish gang database at Brooklyn Borough Hall. Credit: Photograph courtesy of Tandy Lau/New York Amsterdam News.

By Tandy Lau

The NYPD’s criminal group database—better known as the gang database—remains 99% Black and brown, according to the long-awaited Office of the Investigator General (OIG-NYPD) report on the controversial registry. The findings match a June 2018 testimony by then-Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea. Half a decade later, the numbers look eerily familiar. 

Of the roughly 16,000 people registered during the investigation, 11,221 are Black. Another 4,729 are categorized as Hispanic. The remaining 1% of database entrants identify as either white or Asian. That’s fewer than 200 people, combined. 

“The gang database is a backdoor way for the NYPD to criminalize Black and brown communities with zero due process or transparency,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso by text message. “99% of the names that have been submitted to this database are Black and Latino New Yorkers, and it is nearly impossible for individuals to determine if their name is on the list, why it was added, or how they can be removed.

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