Legal Aid Society

Projects, Units & Initiatives

The Cop Accountability Project

The Cop Accountability Project (CAP) of the Criminal Defense Practice’s Law Reform and Special Litigation Unit empowers organizations and communities across New York City to hold police accountable for human rights violations. CAP focuses on increasing transparency and strengthening New York’s systems of accountability for police misconduct. 

Law Enforcement Lookup (LELU)

CAP maintains the most comprehensive public database on law enforcement misconduct records in New York City to date, named “Law Enforcement Look Up” or “LELU.”  The database includes more than 240,000 records involving misconduct by New York City Police Department and New York City Department of Correction officers. LELU exists to empower public defenders, civil rights lawyers and everyday New Yorkers with information to investigate and pursue accountability for police misconduct.

Click here to begin searching LELU.

Our Impact

Beyond the database, CAP works to improve police accountability and transparency by advocating against problematic policing policies and fighting policy secrecy laws. Our staff was instrumental in achieving the historic repeal in 2020 of the Police Secrecy Law, Civil Rights Law § 50-a, which had long shielded information about official misconduct by police officers, as well as the NYPD’s long-standing failure to take such misconduct seriously. We also published a ground-breaking report in 2020 analyzing patterns of police enforcement of social distancing complaints, demonstrating that enforcement patterns followed patterns of racially biased policing rather than patterns of complaints regarding violations of social distancing regulations.

In the wake of the George Floyd protests, CAP launched a clinic to connect New Yorkers who experienced police misconduct and brutality with hands-on legal advice and assistance with filing a Civilian Complaint Review Board complaint, a Notice of Claim to sue the city, and more.