GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union and the City of Grand Rapids argued before the Michigan Supreme Court over a department policy that allows officers to photograph and fingerprint people not charged with a crime.
ACLU attorneys argued the policy is a violation of people’s Fourth Amendment rights while an attorney for the city said the expectation of privacy doesn’t apply to photographs and fingerprints.
"There comes a point, your honors, during a Terry stop where the invasiveness of that stop, whether it is a search or not a search, goes too far in comparison to the privacy interest of the individual," ACLU attorney Dan Korobkin told the justices.
A Terry stop allows law enforcement to briefly detain people based on reasonable suspicion that they were involved in criminal activity.
The now seven-year-long court battle stems from two incidents where Grand Rapids police officers briefly detained black teenagers, photographed and fingerprinted them and released them without charging them with a crime.
A Kent County Court and state court of appeals have ruled that the plaintiff’s fourth amendment rights were not violated.
The Department has said it has since changed its policy to limit the use of fingerprinting and photographing but the ACLU argues it doesn’t go far enough and people not charged with a crime should not have their information entered into databases.