Critics say the New York Police Department’s gang database used flimsy evidence to target people of color. In 2018, the city’s Department of Investigation initiated a four-year probe into the strategy. The Trace and Gothamist report, that the NYPD has created another list, this one focused on gun violence. The NYPD drew up the Gun Recidivist Investigation Program list, known as the GRIP List, soon after Mayor Eric Adams took office this year. The list is made up of people the department believes are involved in recent gun violence. Civil liberties and anti-surveillance advocates are concerned about the list, which may include not just people with gun charges, but also suspects, witnesses, and victims.
Law enforcement sources said rank-and-file officers can access the list through an internal NYPD portal and that several NYPD units are using it as part of investigations, on patrol, and to surveil those on the list. Chief of Crime Control Strategies Michael LePetri, who helped create the GRIP list, referred to it at a March City Council committee hearing on Adams’ Blueprint to End Gun Violence. He argued that it enables the department to be precise by focusing on a limited number of people it alleges are driving gun violence. “We identified individuals that have been involved in multiple shooting incidents over the past two years. One of those shooting incidents, this individual must actually pull the trigger,” LePetri said. “That population is less than .009% of the population in New York City. And we look at that list, the majority of these individuals also have previous felony convictions, prior gun convictions, open gun arrests. These are the individuals that are driving gun violence in New York City." Albert Fox Cahn of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, an advocacy and legal organization that litigates against excessive police surveillance, said the list could subject even crime victims to increased scrutiny: “I’m imagining someone was wrongly suspected of a shooting, never did anything, some time later, they are actually targeted in a shooting. Now they’re going to be subject to this surveillance.”