BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The State Attorney General’s office is now investigating the Buffalo police and their use of traffic checkpoints. This comes months after Black Lives Matter- Buffalo and other groups filed a federal lawsuit calling on the state, claiming African-Americans and minorities are the targets of the city’s checkpoints.
“Is it a good thing or a bad thing?” said 15-year-old Isa Abdulkadir.
That’s the question Isa Abdulkadir asks himself every time he sees a traffic checkpoint in his neighborhood.
It’s the same question Black Lives Matter-Buffalo hopes the Attorney General’s office will answer now that its investigating Buffalo police department’s checkpoints and other policing practices.
“What we really need to do is to get them to stop the checkpoints. I think this is one step toward that process. I’m cautiously optimistic. You know the Buffalo police department has been under investigation federally, on a state level before and nothing has happened so I’m hoping that this is the time police are actually held accountable,” said John Washington, with Black Lives Matter Buffalo.
Black Lives Matter-Buffalo filed a federal lawsuit against BPD in August and asked the state to investigate the department for “unconstitutional searches and seizures.” The lawsuit claimed African-Americans are more often the targets of the city’s traffic checkpoints.
BPD must now give the state guidelines given to officers on how to conduct vehicle checkpoints, Procedures for choosing checkpoint locations, and dates, locations and reasons for all checkpoints since January 2015.
“I think that’s a testament to the fact that these weren’t imaginary concerns there was data to back it up, that there’s something to go off of,” Parker MacKay, attorney for BLM- Buffalo
But BPD disagrees by saying in a statement:
“As we said before the complaint was filed, any allegation of discrimination is completely false. Since that complaint is currently being litigated, any further comment on this matter would be inappropriate at this time.”
-Mike DeGeorge, BPD Spokesperson
The Attorney General’s office isn’t commenting at this time. The common council requested checkpoint data information from BPD in September. The department has until December 20th to provide the state with the requested documents.