NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge yesterday upheld the police department’s practice of randomly searching subway riders’ bags, saying the intrusion on people’s privacy is minimal while the threat of a terrorist bombing is “real and substantial.”
Police tightened security in the nation’s largest subway system in July after the deadly terrorist attacks in London’s underground.
U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman cited testimony that up to 50 percent of terrorist attacks were directed at transportation systems and said the searches were effective.
“The risk of a terrorist bombing of New York City’s subway system is real and substantial,” Judge Berman said.
The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) had challenged the searches, arguing that riders were being subjected to a pointless and unprecedented invasion of their privacy.
The group’s legal director, Christopher Dunn, planned to appeal the decision immediately, saying the NYCLU remained “confident that this program is unconstitutional.”
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the ruling showed that “common sense prevails.”