Oct. 7, 2004 – New York City officials have blamed slow fingerprint processing in Albany as the reason many people detained during the protests against the Republican National Convention were not released quickly. However, lawyers from the New York Civil Liberties Union argue that the fingerprinting may not have been legal at all.
The NYCLU sent a letter to Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly that said the law allowed for the fingerprinting of protesters accused of committing certain crimes, but "could not justify the routine fingerprinting of the nearly 1,500 people reportedly arrested during the convention for minor offenses." The lawyers are concerned that the fingerprints would be entered into state and federal databases for future reference.
John Feinblatt, criminal justice coordinator for New York City Mayor Bloombergâ€™s administration said the fingerprints had been destroyed and could not longer pose a privacy threat to those detained.